An American Story – The Jerry Rescue of 1851
- Grade Level:
- Fourth Grade-Fifth Grade
- African American History and Culture, Constitutional Law, History, Slavery
- Allow your class two hours to complete this lesson plan.
- Group Size:
- Up to 36 (6-12 breakout groups)
- Slavery, Underground Railroad, Abolition, Fugitive Slave Law.
OverviewIn 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which said that all runaway slaves had to be returned to their masters, even if they had gained their freedom by escaping to a “free state”. On October 1st, 1851, an Abolitionist political party was holding an Anti-Slavery Convention in Syracuse, NY. That same day, a runaway slave named William “Jerry” Henry was arrested and jailed under the Fugitive Slave Law by federal marshals. If you were there, what would you do? What actually did happen?
Refresh your understanding of the Fugitive Slave Law, and the Underground Railroad.
These are two different sources that describe, in detail, the Jerry Rescue.
Step 1. Describe to your class the Fugitive Slave Law, and the Underground Railroad.
Step 2. Click on the links for The Jerry Rescue, William "Jerry' Henry's escape, and "Abolitionist battle
down a door in Syracuse to free a fugitive. Download each and print, Distribute to your class.
Step 3. Use the Activities for a class discussion on the Jerry Rescue.
Step 4. Print out the questions under "Making Connections" and have your class answer them.
Step 5. Review the answers with your class.
Have your class answer the questions, and review their answers.
The leaders in the Seneca Falls Convention came from the antislavery movement. Jermaine Loguen who participated in the Jerry Rescue stayed overnight at the M'Clintock House in Waterloo on his way to Canada to escape capture by federal marshals for being a runaway slave. This was the same house in which the Seneca Falls Convention was planned three years earlier.
Three links to articles about the Jerry Rescue.
VocabularySlavery, Antislavery, Runaway Slave, Fugitive Slave Act, Convention.
Last updated: February 26, 2015