Lesson Plan

Slaves as Property

Enslaved children hauling water.
NPS Artwork

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Grade Level:
Third Grade-Fifth Grade
African American History and Culture, History, Slavery
15 Minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
SS.A.1.2.3, SS.A.6.2.4, SS.C.2.2.2


Students will read a "Reward Flyer" advertising the escape of a Florida slave. This will spark learning about slavery, property, and the Underground Railroad. 


Students will gain an understanding of what it means to be human property and identify the reasons a slave would run away.


This lesson requires the following worksheet including the "Reward Notice" from the 1800's.


Students will read a reward flyer that was printed in the Jacksonville Courier newspaper and answer questions on the included worksheet based on the flyer.

Ask your students to compare the aspects of slave life (listed in answer 4) to their own lives. Include that slave families could easily be separated by sale and that not being able to choose the type of work you do meant that you could be assigned to toil in the fields in August (complete with all the Florida climate concerns - extreme heat, thunderstorms, biting insects, etc.). Also add that slaves could not read or write and that many owners did not want them to learn. A conversation on "knowledge as power" might also come into this discussion.


Answer Key

1. the owner, in this case Henry W. Maxey
2. by name or physical description
3. Yes. Slaves had to run far away so they wouldn't be recognized and had to do so quickly since the owner was going to be looking for him or sending people to search for him or her (this might be a good link to discuss the Underground Railroad)
4. property status means that the slave:
- was not paid- could not make decisions for his/her family
- families were sold apart- could not choose where to live
- had no choice for his/her occupation- did not have a chance for an education
- did not choose to be at the plantation
- the above applied to the enslaved person's entire life, starting before the age of your students.

Park Connections

 This lesson may be used before or after a class trip to Kingsley Plantation.  To schedule your field trip please call 904.251.3537.


slave, primary source