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In The News
Grade Levels: 3, 4 and 8
Documents for this Lesson
The Colored American, June 5, 1841
December 15, 1848
Signal of Liberty,
April 7, 1849
August 4, 1841
January 23, 1843
May 8, 1847
September 4, 1847
Archives Reading Room
Complaint of Milton W. Graves against Stephen Bogue
Michigan Counties Covered:
Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lenawee, Washtenaw, Wayne
Length of Time Needed: 50 minutes or one class session
How It Works:
Students will create a history "map" using antislavery newspapers and then answer a series of questions. Teachers may need to reword the questions according to grade level. Students will use highlighters to identify relevant information in a series of newspapers from the 19th century. Then, they will analyze the information in order to answer a historical question.
Photocopy (on 11" x 17" paper) enough sets of the newspapers listed above for groups of three or four students so each group will have its own copy of every edition.
In the Classroom
Break up the students into groups of three or four students. Assign each group a set of questions. Have the students complete the following steps before presenting their answers to their questions.
I. Create the map: Have each group lay its six newspaper copies out on the floor and tape them together in time order so that they look like a scroll (or one long sheet of paper).
II. Have each group identify the items in the newspaper map that relate to their question by marking (highlighting or circling) specific headings or text.
III. Once the students have marked the important text, stand back and look at what they've marked. Ask them to read the headings aloud so that they can begin to hear the Michigan story and how it relates to the South and Canada.
IV. Have students go back to the maps and read the articles they've marked with their question in mind. When they read information that helps them to answer the question, have them color-code that information so that they can come back to it. They may use the suggested colors at the end of each question or create their own color key. (At this point, you may also suggest that they circle any words they do not understand in black so that you can discuss them as a class.)
V. Have each group outline the answer to its question and decide who will present each part of the outline.
VI. Have students present their question and answer to the group by standing with their maps and explaining their answers, both visually and audibly, so that the rest of the class gets to see and hear their answers.
VII. End with a group discussion of these questions:
- How did different points of view affect stories about escaping slavery? What do our answers tell us about how we see or think about ourselves and others?
- What words would you use to describe those who tried to escape slavery and those who enslaved African Americans?
Curriculum Standards Served
Strand 1: Historical Perspective
1.2 Comprehending the Past
1.3 Analyzing & Interpreting the Past
1.4 Judging Decisions from the Past
Strand 5: Inquiry
5.1 Information Processing
5.2 Conducting Investigations
Strand 6: Public Discourse and Decision Making
6.1 Identifying and Analyzing Issues
6.2 Group Discussion
Contact the Michigan Historical Center.