Man in the Middle: Thomas Day and the Free Black Experience

How did free and enslaved blacks work to craft freedom for themselves and their families before the Civil War? Young historians read about the life of Thomas Day, a free black man who also owned slaves and had abolitionist ties in nineteenth-century America.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Front-load any vocabulary words that learners may have difficulty with in the reading before beginning the assignments
  • For younger learners, consider focusing on the concept of freedom and what it means to be without some of the freedoms that most people may take for granted
Classroom Considerations

  • Learners should have a solid understanding of the institution of slavery, as well as the concept of abolitionism, prior to beginning this lesson
  • Preview the materials to determine if they are appropriate for the age and maturity level of your class

  • All reading passages and worksheets included (see included materials)
  • Offers lesson extension ideas

  • None