If you are lesson planning for the school year, or getting ready to celebrate Juneteenth — the June 19 holiday recognizing the abolition of slavery — this Share My Lesson collection has what you need to teach preK-12 students the history of American slavery. This preK-12 lesson and activity curated collection is in response to a Southern Poverty Law Center report, “Teaching Hard History: American Slavery,” that shows that schools are failing to teach American Slavery. This collection of resources features some of our partner and users’ best material to ensure schools and teachers have the support they need to teach about the history of American slavery.
In this activity, students will carefully analyze General Order 3 from Major General Gordon Granger which informed the people of Texas that “all slaves are free.” This activity is appropriate as a conclusion to the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction.
Learn about Black history in the United States before and after the Civil War; the Civil Rights Movement; the history of Africa; African American art; and African American trailblazers.
The 150th anniversary of the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862
occurred in 2012. This bill was introduced to Congress to end slavery in the District of
Columbia. Many citizens and members of Congress alike noted that the legality of slavery in
the District of Columbia was inconsistent with the ideals and aspirations of the nation. Congress
approved the bill, and President Abraham Lincoln signed the act.
This activity features the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 and
other primary and secondary sources that tell the story of Congress’s role in this first major step
toward the freeing of enslaved African Americans. While intended for 8th grade students, the
lesson can be adapted for other grade levels.
Two great abolitionists, Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, once allies, split over the Constitution. Garrison believed it was a pro-slavery document from its inception. Douglass strongly disagreed. This provides writing prompts and a group activity on debating who had the stronger argument.
Nicknamed the “Moses of the Her People” for leading runaway slaves to freedom in the North, Harriet Tubman was the most famous member of the Underground Railroad. She became a celebrity in her lifetime and a hero of the Civil War. This lesson provides writing prompts and an activity on leadership.
Slavery was embedded into America’s fabric by the time of the ratification of the Constitution. Do you think this affected how long slavery lasted in America and how it ended? Explore the National Constitution Center’s 13th Amendment Learning Module to learn more.
Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote the famous line “all men are created equal,” was a life-long slave-owner. Over the course of his life, he would own 600 human beings, and at any given time there would be roughly 100 slaves living and working on and around Jefferson’s plantation and farms. This handout describes Thomas Jefferson’s views on slavery.