Educators' Guide

Lesson Plans

Slave Narratives: A Genre Study
Grade 9 English Language Arts
Grades 11–12 African American Studies
Students will read excerpts from two influential slave narratives, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), in order to better understand the characteristics of the slave narrative genre.

Slavery Across North Carolina
Grade 8 Social Studies
In this lesson, students will read excerpts from slave narratives written by North Carolinians to better understand the slave experience in different regions across the state.

Two Perspectives on Slavery: A Comparison of Personal Narratives
Grade 12 English Language Arts
Students will read and analyze personal narratives written by two North Carolinians who grew up on antebellum plantations in New Bern. One, Mary Norcott Bryan, was the daughter of a wealthy slaveholder, while the other author, William Henry Singleton, was a man born into slavery who fought for the Union Army. How do the authors' cultural backgrounds influence the texts?

Spirituals and the Power of Music in Slave Narratives
Grade 4 Social Studies and Music
After reading two brief excerpts about the importance of music in the lives of slaves from slave narratives written by Thomas L. Johnson and William H. Robinson, students will listen to and discuss folk spirituals.

Field Trips

The field trips listed here are ways for your students to more vividly understand what life was like for slaves in North Carolina. For more field trip ideas, visit Discover North Carolina!, a guide to local educational field trips provided by LearnNC.

Historic Rosedale Plantation - Charlotte, N.C.
On the "Unheard Voices" tour, students will get a chance to explore the plantation community from the perspective of the 20 slaves who lived there in the early 1800s. The tour is recommeded for students ages 12 and older.

Historic Latta Plantation - Huntersville, N.C., 12 miles northwest of Charlotte
This living history farm shows students what life was like on a farm in the North Carolina back country. Students can experience the "Back of the Big House" program which focuses on the site's African American Experience Cabin, and "teaches students about slave life in the Carolinas through the stories of enslaved African Americans who lived at Latta.  Topics explored include slave culture, work, family life, and survival.  Students will play a game, and make an herb bracelet to take with them.  This program is presented by African American interpreter, BeeJay Caldwell, a Huntersville, NC native."

Somerset Place - Creswell, in Washington County, N.C.
A large-scale plantation built in 1785 that was home to the white Collins family and around 800 slaves. After the interactive orientation and guided tour, students can participate in the hands-on education program with activities such as making gourd bowls, ginning cotton, and weaving baskets. These experiences demonstrate what life was like for both the white and black residents of the plantation.

Historic Stagville - Durham, N.C.
Home to the Bennehan-Cameron families, one of the largest slaveholders in the state, and almost 900 slaves, Stagville today allows students to see the remains of a large Southern plantation. Tour the Horton Grove slave quarters and participate in education programs for students in all grades, including activities using WPA slave narratives and historical artifacts of slavery.

Oral History Resources

Audio Toolkit for Teachers
Become familiar with the audio format you will use with these oral histories and troubleshoot any potential problems before using audio in your classroom.

Oral History Overview
Gain a broad understanding of how you can use oral histories with your students (no matter what subject you teach), why they are important, and what tools are available to make using oral histories much easier.

Other Resources
A list of other websites that use or explain oral histories.