• Currier & Ives lithograph depicting the bombardment of Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter

    National Monument South Carolina

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    The museum, restrooms, bookstore, and top level of Fort Sumter are only accessible by climbing stairs. For more information, visit the link below or please call (843) 883-3123. More »

War For Freedom

African American Experiences in the Era of the Civil War

A Web-based Curriculum

Charleston, South Carolina provides an excellent setting to teach students about several key concepts in the study of slavery and freedom in the United States. In this unit focused on the experiences of African Americans, and primarily the slave population in Charleston and the surrounding area, students will learn:

• There was a wide variety of experiences of enslavement before and during the Civil War.

• The Civil War had direct impact on the experiences of the enslaved, including their attempts to achieve freedom.

• Slavery included dual dynamics of control and resistance – slave owners and slave society tried to control the enslaved, who in turn demonstrated a wide variety of forms of resistance. During the Civil War, new opportunities for resistance developed.

• Enslaved and free African Americans resisted slavery in ways that sometimes helped the Union army, although their actions were not always supported by the Union army.


Curriculum Materials (high bandwidth)

Curriculum Materials (low bandwidth)

- Learning Activities

- Resources

Did You Know?

Artist's rendition of the opening shot of the American Civil War with Fort Sumter in the distance.

The first shot of the American Civil War didn't hit anything. It was a 10-inch mortar shell, fired from Fort Johnson, that exploded above Fort Sumter as a signal for Confederate artillery to open fire on the Union-held fort. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC