Flight to Freedom: African-American Westward Migration after Civil War Cruuiculum Planner

Negro History Bulletin, January-December 2001 | Go to article overview

Flight to Freedom: African-American Westward Migration after Civil War Cruuiculum Planner


Part I: Lesson One: Family Ties Through History

Relevant Standards Addressed by These Lessons:

Standards in Historical Thinking

* Standard 2, E: The student thinks chronologically and can read historical narratives imaginatively, taking into account what the narrative reveals of the humanity of the individuals and groups involved;

* Standard 2, F: The student appreciates historical perspectives;

* Standard 3, A: The student engages in historical analysis and interpretation and can compare and contrast differing sets of ideas and values by identifying likenesses and differences;

* Standard 3, F: The student can compare competing historical narratives.

United Slates History Standards for Grades 5-12:

* Era 4, Standard 2: How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions;

* Era 5, Standard 3: How various Reconstruction plans succeeded or failed.

At the End of This Unit Students Will Be Able to:

* Identify the reasons for African American and Native American migration into Kansas after the Civil War;

* Discuss the general motivations for African American and Native American migration out of the South as a means of survival in this period;

* Identify and differentiate historical interpretations;

* Identify primary and secondary sources;

* Practice the use of library research skills;

* Practice reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

Materials from the Bulletin:

"Tracing Trails of Blood on Ice: Commemorating `The Great Escape in 1861-62' of Indians and Blacks into Kansas"

Teacher Resources: If you need to build background quickly consult the following Website, "Introduction: Persons of African Descent in a Definable American West" at http://www.grad. cgu.edu/~ruffinh/webpage/defining.htm. It contains several short, well-documented essays on the history of people of African descent in the West. The teacher should be able to glean from this source a solid introductory lecture or reading to set the basis for class group work and writing assignments.

Other Materials: Students may begin their research with the following:

Library of Congress: The African American Mosaic http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam001.html

Questions for Analyzing Primary Sources http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/lessons/pso urces/studqsts.html

Instructional Strategy: Have the students read the essay by Professor Willard R. Johnson then ask them to break up into small groups to consider the following questions.

1. What is Professor Willard's personal connection to the history he is chronicling in his article? Why does Johnson describe the relationships between, Native Americans and African Americans as being complex? What concerns did both groups have on the eve of the Civil War? In what ways were their experiences similar? In what ways were they different?

2. The teacher might have the groups report their findings to the class, taking notes of the various views offered by each group. The teacher might emphasize Johnson's connection to the event he is depicting, Humboldt, Kansas, and his grandmother. The teacher could suggest to the students how personal historical inquiry can be a window into larger historical questions.

3. The teacher might assign the students the task of informally researching some aspect of their family history connected with an important national event or time period. The students could be asked to interview teachers, ministers, family members and family friends about important periods in history which had a profound impact on them. Some suggestions might be the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Civil Rights Movement, the assassination of John F. …

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