In Pursuit of Freedom: Teaching the Underground Railroad

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Overview

Hushed figures wading by the dark of night through infested swamps, scurrying through the densest woods, silently creeping to the next way station in a long journey that could take them to dignity, freedom, and self-determination. The edge-of-your-seat adventures of fugitive slaves fascinate students and engage them in the story of the Underground Railroad. In Pursuit of Freedom shows you how to turn that student interest into a multifaceted history experience.

As a social reform movement and an act of political subterfuge, the Underground Railroad responded to the moral crises of its day yet also wrought ethical dilemmas of its own. Beginning with a detailed overview of American slavery and the abolitionist movement, William Kashatus puts the Railroad into context, distinguishing history from mythology while opening rich moral and ethical questions for consideration. By examining the times hands on through social studies disciplines like geography, economics, civics, ethics, and Constitutional law, students develop their own interpretation of the Railroad and express it through reading, writing, reflection, and projects.

Kashatus also offers a wide variety of hands-on methods that bring the Underground Railroad to vivid life, including how to:

  • teach with source documents and photographs
  • write local-history research papers
  • think critically about the ethical questions surrounding the Railroad
  • perform in-class dramas
  • decode slave songs.

Go beyond your textbook's facile depiction of the Underground Railroad, energize your teaching of antebellum history with In Pursuit of Freedom, and watch as your students make a journey of their own-into knowledge of the past, empathy for the people of another time, and a love of historical inquiry.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325006529
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 1/11/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

William C. Kashatus, a professional historian and writer, is former Director of Educational Programs at Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he curated the nationally recognized exhibit Just over the Line: Chester County and the Underground Railroad. He taught history for fifteen years in Philadelphia schools, including Abington Friends School, The Episcopal Academy, and the William Penn Charter School. He is the author of more than 250 essays in major periodicals and has written 16 books, including Past, Present, and Personal: Teaching Writing in U.S. History (Heinemann, 2002).
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Table of Contents

Interpreting the Railroad-Providing Students with Context Documenting the Railroad-Teaching with Documents Imagining the Railroad-Teaching with Photographs and Engravings Writing the Railroad-Local History Research Papers Personalizing the Railroad-In-Class Activities Annotated Bibliography Appendixes Document Analysis Worksheet Photo Analysis Worksheet
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