Field Trips

Life after "Freedom" Post-Visit Activity

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Social Studies
Common Core Standards:
6.SL.1, 6.SL.1.a, 6.SL.1.b, 6.SL.1.d, 6.SL.1.c, 6.SL.2, 6.SL.3, 7.SL.1, 7.SL.1.a, 7.SL.1.b, 7.SL.1.c, 7.SL.1.d, 7.SL.2, 7.SL.3, 8.SL.1, 8.SL.1.a, 8.SL.1.b, 8.SL.1.c, 8.SL.1.d, 8.SL.2, 8.SL.3, 6-8.WHST.9


Title: Life after “Freedom”
Goal: The goal is to provide students an opportunity to reflect on their recent visit to Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
Background: Tubman’s friend, Frederick Douglass, compared their work as abolitionists and crusaders for freedom in an 1868 letter to her. He contrasted the public praise he received with Tubman’s dangerous Underground Railroad missions, saying, “I have received mush encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way.” Tubman’s deep faith sustained her as nurse and a spy for the Union army. Tubman eventually settled with her extended family in Auburn, New York, was active in the women’s suffrage movement and founded a home for the elderly and disadvantaged.  
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards: D2.His.3.6-8. Use questions generated about individuals and groups to analyze why they, and the developments they shaped, are seen as historically significant
Resources for Instruction: copy of Harriet Tubman and the Fight for Freedom: A Brief History with Documents by Lois E. Horton (at the end of the book there are many primary sources documents; the following are useful for this activity that will examine Tubman’s life after she became free:
• Solicitation of Aid for Harriet Tubman, August 12, 1864
• Frederick Douglass and Wendell Phillips, Testimonials June and August 1868
• Harriet Tubman Davis, Affidavit May 28, 1892
• Harriet Tubman Davis, Affidavit November 10, 1894
• U.S. Senate, Committee on Pensions Report 1899
• Syracuse Herald, To End Days in Home She Founded June 4, 1911
• New York Times, Harriet Tubman Davis Obituary March 14, 1913
1. Distribute 2-4 copies of the following documents to students 
2. Ask students draw conclusions about Harriet Tubman’s life after slavery by answering the following questions: 
a. Discuss Tubman’s role in the Civil War. Why did she have such trouble obtaining a pension from the U.S. government?
b. In what ways did Tubman violate traditional gender expectations in regard to women? Were such expectations different for black and white women?
c. Was Tubman a feminist? Explain.
d. How did the reality of Tubman’s life differ from the myth and legend?
Additional Resources: