Supplemental Materials includes online resources and graphic organizers to accompany the printed unit, online lessons that supplement the unit, links to additional online resources from the Choices Program, links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.
A Forgotten History: The Slave Trade and Slavery in New England
The fact that thousands of enslaved people lived in New England rarely makes it into U.S. history textbooks. This curriculum unit explores the nature of the triangular trade and the extent of slavery in New England. Using readings, primary sources, and simulations, students uncover the effects of the slave trade and slavery for Americans and explore how history, and the telling of history, affects us today.
Background readings examine the slave trade and Rhode Island's significant role in it and the institution of slavery in New England.
The Choices Role Play
The role play at the center of this unit explores in detail a 1783 Rhode Island Assembly debate. In the winter of that year the assembly discussed whether and how to emancipate the slaves in the new state of Rhode Island. Citizens, even prominent families, were divided on the issue. Quakers, slave traders, rum manufacturers, free and enslaved blacks all participated in the discussion at one level or another.
Creating a Living Museum
Students use drama to demonstrate historical knowledge by developing a character involved in the triangular trade and performing for classmates.
Slavery Connects the North and the South
Utilizing primary source documents students reconstruct the route of an actual slave ship and explore different facets of the slave trade, such as social attitudes and financial dimensions.
Enslaved People's Experiences
Using source material such as paintings, statistics, poetry, photographs, and gravestones, students develop a comprehensive understanding of the experiences of enslaved people in New England.
Role-Playing the Four Options
Students work cooperatively using primary sources to present the four options Rhode Islanders debated at the time. A fourth group plays real townspeople, who ask questions of and evaluate the option groups.
Students apply their knowledge of slavery in the North by working cooperatively to conceive and design a museum exhibit.