About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file for “White Haven (Grant-Dent House)” (with photographs); Brook Simpson’s Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity, 1822-1865; Julia Dent Grant’s personal memoir; and materials from the National Park Service Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. It was written by Hannah Scanlon and edited by the Teaching with Historic Places staff in collaboration with Pam Sanfilippo, Site Historian at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in units on America’s 19th-century western expansion, slavery in Antebellum America, and race in America. Students can study historic White Haven to explore the complex relations between the farm’s white family and the enslaved African Americans who lived with them.
Time period: Mid-19th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find Your State's History Standards for Grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To consider the contradictions between Ulysses S. Grant’s private life at White Haven and his public career;
2) To describe the implications of Missouri’s border state status before and during the Civil War;
3) To describe and compare the Dents’ perspectives on slavery to the lived, human experience of slavery at White Haven;
4) To analyze social justice and minorities in students’ own communities, both historically and in today’s society.
Materials for students
The materials listed below can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) Two maps of the United States and one map of White Haven;
2) Three readings about Ulysses S. Grant, Slavery in Missouri, and Recollections of Slavery at White Haven;
3) Five Photos of buildings and artifacts at the Grant National Historic Site.
Visiting the site
The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site is located at 7400 Grant Road, Grantwood Village, Missouri. It is owned and operated by the National Park Service. The park is open daily year-round, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The site is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Free interpretive visits to the Main House are usually offered every 30 minutes beginning at 9:30 a.m. Expect the last house visit of the day to begin at 4:00 p.m. Due to preservation and safety concerns, space is limited for each time slot and tickets are required. Tickets are free and available at the Visitor Center desk. For more information, please visit the park website or call 314-842-1867.