The Middle Passage Web Site

By Morrison, Brian C. | Negro History Bulletin, October-December 1997 | Go to article overview

The Middle Passage Web Site


Morrison, Brian C., Negro History Bulletin


The Middle Passage Web Site -- http://3 mill.bitshop.com -- began as a teacher's action project, the culminating activity for The Middle Passage: The Making of the Atlantic World, a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) summer institute for educators sponsored by the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) and hosted by Howard University. Designed with two purposes in mind, the web site will be utilized as the basis for the African-American history course I am currently teaching at Randallstown High School in Baltimore County, Maryland. This entails students logging onto the web site and completing assigned activities to use the resource information that is provided at this site. The second purpose is to serve as a resource for teachers around the world who have an interest in learning and teaching about the Middle Passage. The information provided on the web site was developed from four weeks of extremely intense lectures, designated readings and discussions which composed the core of the Institute. Some of the world"s leading authorities on the many facets of the Middle Passage lectured during the summer workshop. Sam Anderson, author of The Black Holocaust for Beginners; historian Rosalyn Terborg-Penn from Morgan State University; artist Tom Feelings who spook about his most recent moving and compelling book of illustrations entitled The Middle Passage; Philip Curtin, Johns Hopkins University Africanist; and Joseph Inikori, director of the Frederick Douglass Institute at the University of Rochester, provided stimulating lectures, and also contributed to the challenging atmosphere of the Institute. They made each presentation informative and provided a deeper understanding of the numerous concepts related to the Middle Passage topic.

The readings for the Institute, compiled by the director Maryemma Graham of Northeastern University in Massachusetts and contained in a two volume, 1,200 page Source Book, became the origin of the majority of the research that went into the baseline essays located on the Middle Passage Web Site. Another component of the Institute which greatly contributed to the development of the web site stemmed from discussions that ensued after each guest lecturer's presentation. During these conversations, the workshop participants shared knowledge and insight on the issues that were the focus of the discussions. Since we are all educators, our exchange of how we could and would incorporate these new understandings of the Middle Passage in our teaching methods became increasingly more significant throughout the duration of the Institute.

This web site can be used as a teaching tool in a variety of ways. Educators can utilize the site as a curricular resource, or they can adhere to the entire program by having their students log onto the Internet, locate the web site, read each essay, and complete the worksheets. The teacher also has the option of following the entire lesson sequence through each sub-unit or following just one of the sub-units presented on the web site.

Five baseline essays constructed using the resources provided by the Institute director and staff comprise the foundation of the Middle Passage Web Site. Each essay contains the core knowledge that both educators and students should possess for a fundamental understanding of the many diverse and controversial issues surrounding the Middle Passage and the development of the Atlantic World. These essays are also composed so that educators and students can continue to examine the ten key ideas that become the objectives for this unit of study. …

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