Lesson 1: Slavery and Free Negroes, 1800 to 1860


Books & Media

Clark, Christopher and Nancy A. Hewitt. Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s History. Volume I, third edition. Boston: St. Martin’s, 2008. A survey of the nation’s history from the perspective of the transformations wrought by the changing nature and forms of work and the role that working people played in the making of modern America. Used to write the historical background.

Foner, Eric and John Garraty, eds. The Reader’s Companion to American History. Boston: Houghton and Mifflin Company, 1991. Article on Free Negroes, 1619-1860, by Ira Berlin. In one readable and accessible volume this book covers political, economic, cultural, and social history; it combines short descriptive entries with longer in-depth essays. Used to write the historical background.

Lester, Julius. To Be a Slave. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1968. Particularly useful for MS and ES school students (if entries selected and read by teachers), this book is based on the extensive collection of slave narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project at the Library of Congress as well as 19th century interviews with abolitionists.

Oates, Stephen B. “The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion,” in Portrait of America, Vol.1, 8th ed. Stephen B. Oates and Charles J. Errico. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2003. Appropriate for HS students, this is a dramatic and thorough telling and explanation of Nat Turner’s Rebellion.

Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives. An HBO Documentary Film in association with the Library of Congress, introduced by Ira Berlin, 2003. Based on oral histories from the Federal Writers Project and visual sources from the Library of Congress, entries are read by a range of well-know actors.

The Avalon Project at Yale contains: history and literature, federal and state statutes, and other documents on Slavery

An essay and primary sources at the Library of Congress website on Slavery – The Peculiar Institution, contains a variety of useful images and contexts.

The PBS four-part program from 1450 to 1865, each with a historical narrative, a resource bank of images, documents, stories, biographies, and commentaries, and a teacher's guides