Fugitive Slave Project: Instruction, Essay Prompts, sample Source selection
This project will consist of you reading primary sources about how enslaved people ran for their freedom in the lead up to the Civil War. You will then explore the Freedom on the Move Database which contain Fugitive Slave advertisements (warrant ads).
Finally, you will assemble a small collection of ads from the database and write an essay using both the Fugitive Slave Sources and your selected Freedom on the Move sources as your evidence.
Step 1: Read the Fugitive Slave Sources that I have provided you…read them well (23 pages instead of a book, friends!)
Step 2: Explore the Freedom on the Move Database https://freedomonthemove.org/. Look at all of the ways you can search for info: what skills the refugees had, gender, physical description, etc. You can even explore French and Spanish newspapers.
Step 3: Look at my essay prompts and decide which question you want to answer.
Step 4: Go back to the Database and assemble a list of five Fugitive Slave advertisements (warrant ads). You need to select good ones that provide you with evidence for your essay.
Step 5: Write a five-paragraph essay answering ONE of my essay prompts below. It will have the same format as the outline, but it will be a full essay.
Your format will include:
3 body paragraphs with excellent topic sentences.
Each body paragraph must have three citations.
Step 6: Citation through your papers should include the page number at the bottom of Fugitive Slave Sources or the letter denoted on your assembled collection of warrant ads from the Freedom on the Move Database, examples: (Fugitive Slave Project Sources Page 3) or (Freedom on the Move D).
These should be used throughout your essay as your citation. No formal works cited page is necessary. You can bring in information from this class, but No other websites or information should be used to construct your essay.
THESE ARE YOUR ONLY SOURCES: Fugitive Slave Project Sources Page or Freedom on the Move.
Step 7: You can either combined your Freedom on the Move sources and essay into one file or turn them in as too separate files into the Fugitive Slave Project Assignment folder (it will only accept pdf or docx.)
1). When you read Slavery’s Constitution, there was a tension as to whether the US government saw enslaved people as people or property. According to your readings and fugitive slave ads, how did enslaved people prove their humanity?
2). What were the perils that faced enslaved women who wanted to run? Did they have different situations? Were they tracked differently?
3). When we think about enslaved people running away, we think about them going North, but what were the specific challenges that people enslaved in Texas faced? Where did they go and why? Was the escape from Texas harder or easier than in states like Virginia, where most of our runaway narratives come from?
4). What types of people helped refuges along the way? In what situations did they need help? What were people willing to sacrifice to help them? Who could they trust in their vulnerable flight? Think: white, black, native American, Mexican American, lawyers, pastors, or other enslaved people? **hint you need to choose 3 groups of people and bring them together answering why?
5). Many of my students believe the Underground railroad was an actual railroad. Why is that problematic? How does that undermine the truth about the difficult journey these people took? If not a railroad, what should have the journey have been named?
7). What role did literacy play in an enslaved people’s ability to fight for their freedom? How might you see the ability to read and write (maybe even in other languages) empowering people to gain their freedom or retain their freedom after the escape?
8). After reading these sources, how do you see enslaved people expressing agency over their own lives? What were the most important ways that agency was expressed? Are enslavers happy about it, in what way do they move to squash those freedoms?
9). After reading your sources, how important was physical appearance to apprehending enslaved people? What were the most important ways that refugees from enslavement could transform their appearance?
10). Besides disguising one’s physical appearance, how else did runaways fundamentally have to hide who they were to make it to safety? What does it mean to change one’s name or skills to one’s humanity?
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