Date:               August 14, 2007


From:                         Mark L. Chronister



Lesson Plan


Overview: In this lesson students will become familiar with the UGRR as both flight and fight as demonstrated by the Christiania Riot. Using the free black population map of south-central PA I will explain the significance of the Quaker population as well as the free black communities that fugitives were able to blend into despite being so close to the Maryland border. Students will be given a follow-up assignment using an UGRR primary source document (see page 2). Finally, I want students to grapple with the role of civil disobedience in U.S. history.



Students will be able to:

1.      demonstrate their understanding of the Christiana Riot.

2.      demonstrate an applied understanding of the maps used in class.

3.      identify key people and their significance in the UGRR.

4.      explain an UGRR primary source document to their peers.


Day One: Students will be taken to the library and directed to the National Geographic UGRR website for an introduction to the topic. They will be required to generate two questions from their experience with the “digital journey.” The remaining time will be given to search for a UGRR primary source document.


Day Two: Lecture. Using a power point presentation, I will define the UGRR and provide the critical events of the Christiana Riot and Trial. Again, I want to emphasize the “fight” aspect of the UGRR to avoid the perception that fugitive slaves were passive participants in attaining their freedom.


Day Three: Discussion of civil disobedience. I will provide key provisions of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act and the legal implications of breaking the law. I intend to draw parallels with current debate of illegal immigration. Although the historical parallels are not exact, some Catholic and Protestant churches are knowingly defying federal law and supporting, through various means, illegal immigrants.  heir argument is very similar to those of the abolitionists. They are serving a “higher law” and basic human needs take precedent over laws concerning national sovereignty.

My students generally look back at history and identify with the “good guys.” By paralleling the UGRR with a current controversial issue I am hoping that students will see the abolitionists not merely as the “good guys” but as their contemporaries saw them - controversial and provocative. 

Chronister: U.S. History                                                         Quarter I

Primary Source Document                                                     Name_________________________    


Requirement: 12 point font double spaced


____/10 points     Paragraph One: Mood and Historical Context

                              Using your textbook provide an overview of the decade of your primary

                              source document. For example, I chose Frederick Douglas’ speech, No             Progress Without Struggle. The purpose of the first paragraph is to provide a   context for your document.


____/20 points      Paragraphs Two & Three: Examination of the Document

·         What are some key phrases or statements? Explain.

·         Is there a person(s) or groups identified in the document?


____/ 10 points    Create Two Document Based Questions.         

                              You will answer your own questions during the presentation of your paper.

                              Example questions:

·         Why would Douglas’ metaphor of expecting crops without plowing the      ground be effective with a 19th century audience?

·         Do you agree with Douglas that power concedes nothing without demand?


____/ 10 points     Visuals. Provide two visuals such as photographs, political cartoons, or maps                that relate to your primary source document. Be able to explain how your                     visuals relate to your document.


____/50 X 2= _______/100



UGRR Websites  (Fugitive Slaves & UGRR)




William Whipper                                 Harriet Tubman                                   Ellen Craft

Henry “Box” Brown                           William Lloyd Garrison                      Laura Haviland

Solmon Northrup                                Fredrick Douglas                                Robert Purvis

David Ruggles                                                John Rankin                                        Josiah Henson

William Still                                        Levi Coffin                                         Jermain Loguen

Mary Ann Shadd                                Martin Delany                                     William Goodridge