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1 Hour
1 Day
8th - 11th
1754 - 1861
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Academic Standards (1)

CCSS English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

NCSS C3 Framework

  • D2.Civ.5.9-12. Evaluate citizens’ and institutions’ effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
  • D2.Civ.14.9-12. Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
Enslaved people working in a large field
Stereoview showing slaves in a cotton field in the southern United States, 1860s
Courtesy of Library of Congress

Key Terms and Concepts

  • manumission
  • rebellion
  • slave codes

Essential Questions

What are the circumstances that lead to resistance?
What beliefs and ideas inspire people to wage resistance?
What methods and strategies are used in resistance efforts and movements?


Two Rebellions

Students will conduct online research in pairs, gathering and synthesizing information to prepare to practice speaking and listening skills in a Socratic seminar.


Warm Up (1)

  • Activate student thinking about the theme of resistance with this 4-Corners activity. Review the directions in advance and then again with students.
  • Follow up the activity by explaining that this lesson will focus on two very different examples of the resistance of enslaved people in 18th and 19th century America: the Stono Rebellion and Frank McWhorter.

Research (Round One) (1)

  • Organize students into pairs. Have partners determine which of their birthdays is sooner. Assign that student to research the Stono Rebellion, while the other student researches Free Frank McWhorter using sources provided in the Learning Lab under "Materials" below.
  • Pass out two copies of the Researching Resistance Worksheet to each student. Instruct students to work independently on Round One of their research, using sources provided. They are in charge of learning about that particular resistance story and then teaching it to their partner. (Note: Depending on your resources or time, this can be done in class or as homework. You may also bypass screen time by selecting and printing key sources.)
  • Have students meet with their partners to share what they learned about resistance and to complete the “who, what, where, when” sections of their worksheets. Encourage students to truly teach one another and not just focus on filling out the worksheet.

Research (Round Two) (1)

Have each pair of students combine with another pair to make four. Explain that, with their respective group members, they must further research that resistance story to answer the questions in Round Two. When done, have groups come back together and collaborate to complete the “why” and “how” sections of both worksheets.

Socratic Seminar (1)

Use the following prompts to facilitate a seminar where students can discuss what they learned about resistance in this lesson.

  • What were the circumstances that lead to resistance in each of these historical instances? How were those circumstances similar? Different?
  • What beliefs and ideas inspired the people you learned about today? How were they similar and different in these two historical instances?
  • What methods and strategies were used in the resistance efforts you learned about? How were they similar and different in these two historical instances?
  • How did the resistance of Frank McWhorter and the Stono Rebellion impact American history and contemporary society?
  • What part did immigration/migration play in these historical examples of resistance?

Exit Ticket (1)

Post the statements from the 4-Corners activity. Tell students to choose one and write about how they have reconsidered or reflected upon that statement in light of what they learned about resistance in this lesson.