Courses/Lectures

Each of the 34 courses available can be enrolled in individually, or in packages.  Each course is an approximately 1-hour session that consists of the opportunity for the students to interact with the associated artifacts, and a discussion exercise tailored for your specific class in accordance with your teacher's curriculum/recommendations.  If the Course List below doesn’t fit your needs, we can work together to develop the presentation you desire – from control of the discussion topics to selection of items to be presented.

Escapes and 
Silent Rebellions

While there were many slaves that revolted against their masters and engaged in physical confrontation, many more rebelled by running away. These bold and desperate acts were revolutionary in themselves, and led to as much legislation and consternation to slaveholders as armed revolts - and were certainly more costly financially. This course takes a look some of these stories of self-emancipation from the former slaves themselves, the efforts made to stop their success, as well as looking at the seminal work on the Underground Railroad network that led to the safe escape of thousands – with a reminder of the dangers of running away.

 

Artifacts: Slave autobiographies, William G. Still's History of the Underground Railroad, slave want ads, chain used for holding runaways.

The Kidnapped and the Ransom, 1st Edition, 1856 - This engraving is of Vina Still, the wife of Peter Still.  Peter was the brother of William G. Still, one of the leading conductors of the Underground Railroad who himself managed to escape.  In turn, William helped to get his brother Petter and his family, including wife Vina to freedom.  The story of their enslavement and liberation was published in 1856, and is available to been seen first hand in this collection.

Rev. Josiah Henson, The Inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin - Reverend Josiah Henson, the inspiration behind the Uncle Tom character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, was far more than the negative connotations attached to the character he inspired.  Rev. Henson escaped the chains of bondage, eventually landing in Canada where he started a settlement for escaped slaves - including a school.  He accomplished a tremendous amount through perseverance and a refusal to allow is current condition to remain his permanent condition.  Due to the popularity he garnered as a result of the association with the Uncle Tom character, Henson wrote multiple versions of his life's story for a captivated audience - the edition seen here is from 1858, the first expanded version of his autobiography written after Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in 1852.

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