"Slavery in Colonial New Jersey"

 

GRADE LEVEL: Grade 10, US History I

 

 

Overview

The existence of slavery in New Jersey is virtually unknown in the conventional understanding of United States history. This aspect of local history has important bearing on the larger picture of the colonial era and the build up to the American Revolution. Analysis of the institution of slavery in New Jersey can provide valuable insights into the economics of both the practice and the times, as well as the social dynamics that formed the backdrop of the Revolution and a microcosm of the impending problems of race relations that continue to haunt our country.

This project is designed to be implemented in a 10th grade, United States History I class. It can be adapted for Advanced Placement and College Preparation students and can be used in a variety of school instructional settings. Through their work in completing this project, students will:

  • analyze fugitive slave advertisements
  • research census bureau statistics regarding the placement and numbers of fugitive slave advertisements
  • investigate relationships between indentured servants and enslaved Africans
  • investigate relationships between masters and enslaved Africans
  • research the connection between the economics of slavery and the fugitive slave advertisements themselves (including the effect on the revolutionary printers such as Benjamin Franklin)
  • draw conclusions about the evolution of slavery in colonial New Jersey
  • draw conclusions about what details of colonial life historians can determine by examining the type and variety of clothing, hairstyles, and distinguishing features found among the indentured servants and enslaved Africans,
    discover the type of economy that was found in New Jersey during the colonial period and its impact on indentured servants and the institution of slavery.

 

NJCCCS:

6.1(A): 1, 2, 3, 46.4(D)

 

Key Understanding:

  • Students will be able to investigate, explore, and analyze the role of slavery in colonial New Jersey
  • Students will be able to investigate, explore, and analyze the lives of enslaved people in colonial New Jersey
  • Students will be able to investigate, explore, and analyze emancipation of enslaved people in colonial New Jersey
  • Students will be able to investigate, explore, and analyze fugitive slave ads from colonial New Jersey
  • Students will be able to investigate, explore, and analyze the impact of the Revolution on enslaved people in colonial New Jersey

 

Student Purpose: 

Enslaved people played a significant role in the economic, social, and cultural development of colonial New Jersey . Evidence of the lives of enslaved people can be found in virtually all of New Jersey . Understanding the role these people played in the development of colonial New Jersey will help the student understand current social, economic, and cultural New Jersey .

 

Driving Questions:

  • How did slavery fit into the development of colonial New Jersey?
  • How did enslaved people live in colonial New Jersey ?
  • What legal rights did enslaved people have in New Jersey ?
  • How and why did some enslaved people make a run for freedom?
  • How did New Jersey 's Gradual Emancipation Act of 1804 affect enslaved people?

 

Describe Skills and Knowledge:

SKILLS
KNOWLEDGE
   
Students will read primary documents: newspaper article ("The Panther Article"), birth records, bills of sale, and fugitive slave ads Students will learn when and how enslaved people came to New Jersey , particularly the student's county, if resources are available.
Students will analyze how slavery shaped the development of New Jersey . Students will learn how enslaved people lived and the work they did in colonial New Jersey .
Students will formulate questions about slavery and about enslaved people from multiple perspectives, using the various sources cited above. Students will learn when and how some enslaved people tried to escape slavery.
Students will evaluate the credibility and bias of the primary documents, examining the historical, social, and economic context in which each was written. Students will learn what happened to enslaved people when their efforts to escape slavery in New Jersey were unsuccessful.
  Students will learn how the American Revolution impacted enslaved people in New Jersey .
  Students will learn about the continuation of slavery in New Jersey after the Revolution.
  Students will learn about the Gradual Emancipation Act of 1804.

.

 

Final Project/Performance:

Students will write historical fiction: using the fugitive slave ad that they studied during the unit, students will apply their knowledge of slavery in New Jersey and New Jersey colonial and revolutionary history to write an ending to the story of the enslaved person's attempt to escape to freedom.

Student Reflection Tool :

Students will create a folder in which all documents used during this unit will be placed, including in-class writing activities during the unit.

 

Assessment Strategy for Final Lesson:

 

  • See attached copy of pre-assessment true/false quiz.
  • See attached copy of post-assessment writing assignment.