Diary Entry Of A Slave Assignment

Escaping Slavery Narrative Writing Project  

ASSIGNMENT:
Write 4 journal entries taking on the role of a slave escaping from his or her master. See sample entries on p.569 of text.
Entry 1: Preparing for/planning/anticipating escape
Entry 2: Beginning week of your journey
Entry 3: Toward the end of your journey
Entry 4: Safely arriving and settling in your new home in Canada
(Click  HERE    for project directions handout.)

REQUIREMENTS:
1)Write a minimum of 8 sentences per entry.  See sample entries on p.569 of text. Your entries should MAKE CONNECTIONS to the literary selections we read in class.  For example, codes/signals and hardships mentioned in Tubman's biography, life on the plantation as described in the  Frederick Douglass play.

2) Try to be as realistic and detailed as you can.  Use information and terminology from the Web Quest,    Harriet Tubman videos shown in class, and Petry’s “Go On or Die” in text.
  • Be imaginative and describe in as much detail as possible your experiences as an escaping slave physically(cold, hunger, exhaustion, pain) and emotionally(excited, anxious, fearful, despairing).
  • Do some research! Use a MAP of the URR to plan your route north. Find at least one real historic safe house to stay in on your journey. Include an image of the house and use the owner's real name.
  • Remember, your journey to freedom consists of 30 days of traveling by foot during the cold of winter or extreme heat of summer.

3) Digitalize your journal using Google Slides
  • Create a total of 9 slides: cover page, 4 entries, 4 images (w/captions).
  •  Include a minimum of one appropriate image (w/embedded URL link) with descriptive caption after each journal entry. Click HERE for photo library or find your own pics (Be sure to copy/paste link below the pics).
  • Select appropriate paper background, font style and size, etc. to represent the late 1800’s.
  • Incorporate at least one animation/build on each slide.

4) Make a paper copy
  • Print Google Slides (2 slides per page).
  • Make an authentic looking cover for your journal (Use thick stock paper and wet edges with coffee grinds or tea bags or cut a brown paper bag.)
  • Bind pages together with staples, shoe string, yarn, or ribbon.

​*TIPS & SUGGESTIONS:
  • Your trip must end in Canada because of the 1851 law which required escaped slaves living in Northern states be returned to their masters.
  • Gather what food you can (salted fish, beef jerky, corn fritters, hardtack, etc.) before the journey.
  • Escaping via the Underground Railroad, imagine how you’ll feel to eat a hot meal, sleep with warmth and without fear, etc. while in a safe house.
  • You will need to forage (wild berries, etc.) or hunt (sling shots, traps, etc) for food along the way and find sources of water.
  • Remember the need for secrecy (signals, codes, passwords) to avoid being caught – smoke from fires or sound from gunshots will attract attention.
This is a creative writing assignment, so be creative!
Watch the video and use the below tips/suggestions as a springboard for your entries.

ENTRY #1: Slave life on a plantation and preparing for escape
How old are you?
What is life like as a slave on the plantation?  What time do you have to wake?  When do you go to sleep? What kind of work are you forced to do?
How long have you been on this plantation?
Family members?
Why are you escaping?
With whom will you escape?
What day and at what time (day or night) will you leave?  Why then?
How will you know when to flee?
How are you preparing for your escape?  What will you bring? (salted fish, beef jerky, corn fritters, hardtack)

Key terms: master, overseer, plantation, secret codes/signals

ENTRY #2: Escape and beginning your journey
How is weather influencing your journey?
How were you alerted that it was time to flee?
How many slaves are escaping with you?
Who is your “conductor”?  What is their experience with the URR?
How will you know which way to go? Secret signals/codes? (North star, big dipper, little dipper, moss growing on trees, etc)
At what time of the day is it safest to travel?  Why?
What will happen if you are caught?
What kinds of hardships are you encountering?

Key terms: conductor, secret codes/signals, moses, spirituals (drinking gourd), Freedom/Gospel Train, Fugitive Slave Law 

ENTRY #3: Help from friends and getting close to freedom
How do you feel?  What are some hardships you’ve encountered since your escape?
How are you getting food, water, shelter? (Remember, no campfires or gunshots… explain why)
Is everyone in your group still alive?
Arrival at a “safe house” - How did you know this would be a safe place to stay? Click HERE for a list of safe houses on the Underground Railroad and choose a couple to incorporate into your journal. (Click HERE  and HERE  for historic buildings of MA associated with the URR.)
Who owns the house,  how were you treated at the safe house, and why are they helping you?
What might happen to them if they are caught helping you?
Why is the Fugitive Slave Law important for you to know about?
What does “a friend with friends” mean?  How do you know?
How are you keeping your hopes up?

Key terms: “friend with friends”, safe house/depot, promised land, quilts, lanterns, Levi Coffin, William Still, Thomas Garrett, Frederick Douglas  

ENTRY #4: Reaching freedom and settling in your new home
How does it feel to be free?
Did you receive help from a “brakeman” someone who helps fugitives find jobs/homes when they get to freedom)?
Where will you live?  What kind of work will you look for?
How many in your group have made it?
Is there anything you would have done differently?
How will life be different for you now that you are free?

Key terms: brakeman, promised land, heaven, Canada, freedom

 

Title – Civil War Diaries and Letters
By – Andrea Smith
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – 6-8

Goals:
Students will learn about the various effects that the Civil War had on people. They will explore how it didn’t just effect people fighting in the war, but the families left at home and the general atmosphere of life during the time. I want the students to really think about how people lived during this time period by writing about it.

Rationale:
It is also important for students to know about how the Civil War affected the lives of people living at the time. In addition, it is important for students to practice writing. Just because this isn’t an English class doesn’t mean they don’t need to write and learn how to write better. So more writing!

Virginia SOL: USI.9 f

Objectives:
1. The students will read diary entries to use in their letters/journals.
2. The student will write a small letter or journal entry from the perspective of someone involved in the Civil War.

Procedures/Activities:

Reading: (~10 minutes)
Read from a story about a child’s experience during the Civil War. This will be used to put them in the mood of thinking about how ones life can be. They will each receive a diary entry from around the civil war time period. They will be told to read the entry and underline anything about it that is historically relevant. For instance, they would underline if a battle is mentioned or even if they refer to something like a carriage or words used such as “Master” or “Yankee”.

When they are finished, explain that these are the kinds of things that they are going to include when they are writing their own journal/letter. They are going to use all that they have learned about the civil war so far.

Journal/Letter: (Rest of class)
Explain what assignment will be about — reading from rubric as it’s being handed out.

“Consider what it must have been like to be alive during the Civil War. There were a lot of people involved. Which do you most identify with? Pick a person, either a male or female, someone from the North or South, someone directly involved in the War or someone who stayed at home, and write a letter or journal showing “your” experience in the Civil War! You could have been a soldier, a nurse, a Slave, or even a woman left to defend her home.

You need to write 2-3 paragraphs in complete sentences. On the top of your paper write down who you are writing about. Ex: Female Southerner who is a Nurse. Do this so you can remind yourself who you are writing about! Show what you’ve learned so far about the Civil War to show what it would have been like to be alive at the time.”

Once the explanation has been said, remind them to chose who their character is going to be. I will have them pull out a piece of paper and on the top write what their person will be like, if they are from the north or south, write north or south and continue with the rest of the options of involved in the war/at home, white/black, male/female. The top of their paper should look something like “Andrea: female, north, white, in war”. If this is the setting I would likely write about being a nurse in the civil war.

Closure:
If students finish early I will send them to the books about the civil war provided (bibliography of possible books attached). If all students finish before end of class, have them share what they wrote. Before students leave ask what they chose to write about and connect it back to the Civil War. Send them on their Way.

Materials:
– Rubric
– Poster with paper instructions
– Books

Assessment:
Their writing assignment will be graded.

Differentiation:
– Giving students a different assignment than they’re used to.
– Allowing creativity.


RUBRIC:

Who Wants to Be from the Civil War?

          Consider what it must have been like to be alive during the Civil War. There were a lot of people involved. Which do you most identify with? Pick a person, either a male or female, someone from the North or South, someone directly involved in the War or someone who stayed at home, and write a letter or journal showing “your” experience in the Civil War! You could have been a soldier, in the Red Cross, a Slave, or even a woman left to defend her home

          You need to write 3-4 paragraphs in complete sentences. On the top of your paper write down who you are writing about. Ex: Female Southerner Nurse. Do this so you can remind yourself whom you are writing about! Show what you’ve learned so far about the Civil War to show what it would have been like to be alive at the time.

Grading Rubric

What you need to do:

Available Points Points Earned
Complete Sentences10 points
3-4 Paragraphs10 points
Accuracy20 points
Identify Your Character10 points

E-Mail Andrea Smith !

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