Anna Kingsley A Teacher's Guide
OverviewThis lesson traces Anna Kingsley’s life through official documents and interpretation.
Upon completion of the program, the participant will be able to:
1. evaluate primary documents to reconstruct aspects of Anna Kingsley's life, such as her manumission.
2. identify through essay writing ways in which Anna Kingsley's life was affected by the events of the year 1821.
3. propose ways in which Anna Kingsley's life events are representative of other persons of different economic, social, political, or racial backgrounds living during the early 19th century in northeast Florida.
Kingsley Plantation, an area of the National Park Service's Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, is located on Fort George Island, near the mouth of the St. Johns River. Early 19th century plantation structures represent the Sea Island cotton era, a planter and family of that era, and the enslaved people who were forced to toil in that time.
Anna Kingsley was an African woman purchased by Zephaniah Kingsley, a planter and trader. Anna Kingsley became his wife and resided at the Fort George Island plantation from 1814 to 1839 with their four children. Upon receiving her freedom in 1811, Anna had become a freed person, slave owner, effective plantation manager, and independent businesswoman, all in addition to her roles as wife and mother. During their time at this plantation, Florida changed hands from Spanish rule to become a territory of the United States.
Students should read the Anna Kingsley article and receive copies of the two included documents.
Have students use maps to trace Anna's life and travels.
Ask students to draw a time line from 1775 to 1875. On one side of the time line students should identify important events in Anna's life and when they occurred, and on the other side students should note the dates and major events of American and (with some research) Florida history. Discuss with your students events in Anna's life that were influenced by political or social issues.
The two documents represent the first, and one of the last, official records of Anna's life. Ask students to list information about Anna using only the two documents. What additional information can be inferred from the documents? Ask students to list official documents (not diaries or personal correspondence) that might be used to collect information about themselves. What, for example, does a drivers license reveal? Report card?
Field study at Kingsley Plantation provides an important context in which to study Anna Kingsley. The site includes the original plantation house, kitchen house, barn, and extensive remains of twenty-three slave cabins. By studying these structures and the natural setting (plus further reading) students can do projects that relate the physical site to aspects of Anna's life. A project might compare and contrast living conditions of enslaved women and slaveholding women such as Anna; or explore the responsibilities (and implications) of a woman managing a large, remote plantation.
For information on visiting the Kingsley Plantation with a class click here.