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Notes for teachers

(1) General Information
This investigation is based on pamphlets, books and manuscript material dating from the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which are available for consultation at the Archives and Special Collections searchroom, Durham University Library, Palace Green, Durham.

References:
Abridgement of the Minutes of Evidence taken before a Committee considering the Slave Trade, 1789. (Bamburgh O V13)
Thomas Clarkson, An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of Human Species, London, 1788. (Winterbottom K 14/1 or Routh 57 D 8)
William Wilberforce, A Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, addressed to the freeholders and other inhabitants of York, 1807. (Winterbottom M 80)
The Debate on a Motion for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 1791. (Bamburgh O V14)
Resolutions passed by a meeting of West Indian planters re. the slave trade. (Grey papers, GRE B57/12/12)

 

(2) Contents and use of resources
This resource considers how and why so many Africans were enslaved from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It uses printed and manuscript material dating from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to look at the ways in which Africans were enslaved and the reasons behind that enslavement.

The investigation has been designed to offer some degree of flexibility. Each case study can be used as a stand-alone unit or the two can be used in conjunction with each other. Each case study is then broken down into a number of sources thus allowing teachers to decide whether to use the material as a whole class resource or to break the class down into groups to work on individual sources. A worksheet has been provided so that students can record their conclusions in a Word document.

As with most historical sources, these accounts were written by adults for adults and, consequently, the language may be considered advanced. To help overcome this problem, a full transcript and a simplified transcript have been provided for every source. There is also a link to a glossary on every page. Nevertheless, some pupils may still need extra assistance. Teachers should also be aware that students may need advice on how to refer to the slaves. The accounts use terms such as 'Negro' which are no longer used today.

Each source is accompanied by a page of ‘More Information’ which provides basic background and contextual information. A Links button also appears on every page which directs students to other useful websites. Since the story of slavery is reasonably complex, a timeline has also been provided.

 

(3) Curriculum Links
This resource has been constructed to support QCA Scheme of Work, Unit 15, Black peoples of America - from slavery to equality? at Keystage 3.

It also supports various aspects of the Knowledge, skills and understanding of the National Curriculum, namely historical interpretation, historical enquiry and organisation and communication. There are also clear links with ICT.

 

(4) Ideas and activities
In addition to following the questions and suggestions mentioned in the main pages, the following could be tried:
(a) using the examples given in Case Study 1, Source 4 ask the students to imagine that they are a recently captured slave and have been asked to tell their story. What would they think, how would they feel, what would they be concerned about?

(b) Hold a debate on slavery with half the class supporting the abolition of slavery, the other half supporting its continuation.

(c) Use the sources and information contained in the Case Studies to write a PowerPoint presentation answering the question 'How were so many Africans enslaved?'

 

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