Tag Archives: Slave Trade

Stop the Presses: Final Project Redirect and Elevator Pitch

I would still love to develop a project based on the Slave Trade and primary sources; however, the plan has evolved significantly since my last update. In fact, it changed so much that I’ve redesigned entirely. In part, this is because I’ve had two important meetings this week with teachers with whom I am collaborating. Although the project has gone in a different direction, it is perhaps even better and certainly more tightly focused. The new topic, title, and digital project page?

Power of Persuasion: The Language and Legacy of Elizabeth I

Below find a description of the project’s different digital components. It’s a great mix of sources, learning styles, assessments, I believe it also fosters interdisciplinary learning and “uncoverage” as Dr. Calder would say. There is still much to be figured and fleshed out, but I think the foundation and framework is solid, and I feel more grounded as well. Project components will be completed throughout the year, one per quarter. I will enter and upload primary sources with Dublin Core data, instructions, and other miscellaneous items by the end of this summer term.

Short Description

This project seeks to explore primary sources related to Elizabeth I. The types of sources are divided into three spheres that consider audience, scope, purpose, and meaning.

Private (letters)
Public  (speeches)
Image  (portraits/photography)

Projects/Activities

1.  Transcription: Read primary sources and transcribe. Then, compare student transcription to published transcription. Harkness discussion on process and discrepancies. Student write blog reflection, which will form the basis of an Omeka collection and/or exhibit.

2.  Rhetorical analysis: Read letters/speeches and analyze the use of logos/ethos/pathos, and the Ciceronian order of arguments. The final product will be an essay, which will form the basis of an Omeka collection and exhibit. Student will input Dublin Core data for proper citation and scholarship.

3.  Image analysis: Make a podcast of a detailed “text” analysis of a painting of Elizabeth. Four portraits, students make podcasts in groups of four, each group discusses a different portrait. Podcasts will be represented as a collection and exhibit in Omeka.

4.  Modern Female Politician: Pick a 20th or 21st century woman in politics and read a private source, a public source, and analyze an image. Present findings of analysis via oral presentation with Google Slides. Presentation files will form the basis of an exhibit in Omeka.

Primary Sources

Private (letters):

Public (Speeches):

Image (portraits): Below find links four portraits completed during Elizabeth I’s life. At the bottom of the page you can navigate between three pages of portraits.

  • Pelican portrait
  • Ermine Portrait
  • Armada Portrait
  • Rainbow Portrait

My audience will still be high school students, as stated earlier — but the A.P. Language will tie in with more World History courses rather than U.S. history. However, there is still a U.S. component as part of the final assignment.

I’ve started an Omeka site with one small problem. I love the theme, but when I started adding items — a large “hero image” appeared on the homepage and I see no option to disable it. It throws off the formatting of the rest of the page. Perhaps Dr. Kelly can help, and I’ve also emailed Omeka.

Possible Text for Final Project

In conceptualizing my final project based on the Atlantic Slave Trade I am relying this week on sources from Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. I chose Gilder Lehrman because they have free, accessible, wide-ranging resources for teacher of U.S. history, particularly for high school courses. I am also using Gilder Lehrman because they have detailed “information architecture” for primary and secondary sources. I will need to check for guidelines on reuse, but my hope is to mine resources from their organization in order to create consistency in terms of format, metadata, and scholarship.

Here is a sample of some of their full-text scanned and transcribed primary sources: https://www.gilderlehrman.org/featured-primary-sources

I selected this text by Robert Livingston because it presents a different view of slavery and slaveholders who sold and purchased kidnapped African men and women. In addition to having a scanned high resolution for students to transcribe, there is also a full transcript available on the site. This would challenge students to dissect the writing before analyzing the language itself and the text’s meaning in its day versus present-day.

As Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History states, “Livingston’s callous description demonstrates the slave-trade investor’s emphasis on the financial loss, rather than the human cost.” This is highlighted in the following excerpt:

We have thank God had the good fortune of haveing one of our Guinea Sloops come in, tho after along passage of 79 days in which time they buryed 37 Slaves & Since 3 more & 2 more likely to die which is an accident not to be helped, and which if had not happend we Should have made a Golden Voyage but as it is there will not be much left I fear, unless the other Sloop meets with better Luck

Robert Livingston to Petrus Dewitt, July 29, 1749. (The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC03107.04449)

Additional resource: Myths and Misconceptions on the Slave Trade

Possible Media for Final Project

Below find a media examples that relate to one of my final project ideas. My idea is to create a cross-curricular project with AP Language. As a topic I have selected the slave trade. I know this is not the most original topic, but because it is a major part of American history and so often discussed in our cultural discourse, I wanted to create a project that complicated the issue/topic. I want to approach this project with a focus on a change-over-time in terms of the language used to discuss, defend, or protest against the slave trade from 1619 through 1860. I chose these two years because 1619 was the year of the first Africans to arrive in what became the United States (13 original colonies/states), and 1860 was 1) the election of Lincoln but before the start of the war and 2) the year of the last known kidnapped African to be sold in North America after passage across the Atlantic. (His name was Cudjoe Lewis, 1840-1935.)

As for the reasons I chose the following image and video file comes from my desire to mix different types of sources in this broader change-over-time topic. Both of these sources will inspire students to think about the slave trade from multiple perspectives. Also the lecture features a host of primary sources images. These sources combine presented expertise (Philip Morgan) with a primary source for analysis. My goal is to challenge students to think about the issue of slavery and the slave trade and to apply historical empathy as Wineburg described.

Philip Morgan: The African Slave Trade,  1500-1800 from The Gilder Lehrman Institute on Vimeo.

“Decks of a Slave Ship” from The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade, Ancient and Modern, compiled by William O. Blake (Columbus OH: J. & H. Miller, 1861). (The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC00267.038)