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Teaching about African-American Life after Slavery

College depicting themes for teaching about life for African-Americans after Emancipation

Welcome, Teachers! The Ransom and Sarah Williams Farmstead is an excellent springboard for teaching about life for African-Americans after Emancipation and may be used as a focal point during Black History Month. The multi-part units below cover a variety of critical issues ranging from making a living as freedmen to becoming legally identifiable citizens.

7th Grade


In Exercising the Rights of Citizenship in 19th-Century Texas, students will explore a variety of primary source documents to learn how Ransom Williams, an African American living in post-Civil War Texas, began the transition to freedom by excercising the right to vote and own property. View TEKS and download page

Life in Texas Freedom Colonies focuses on the hundreds of self-sufficient black communties which sprang up after Emancipation and the many challenges African Americans faced during this time. Using the Internet, students research the Constitutional amendments designed to help them, as well as the laws and conditions that limited their freedom.
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Bottles, Pins, and Horseshoes: Analyzing Artifacts From the Ransom Williams Farmstead Using Bloom’s Taxonomy
In this lesson, students will analyze several of the intriguing farmstead artifacts using Bloom's Taxonomy, a classifying device used to illustrate the  hierarchy of thinking levels, from simple and concrete to complex and abstract. This allows students on all levels to exercise the complete range of critical thinking skills while appreciating the cultural significance of historical objects.
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7th-8th Grade

In Writing Contemporary Protest Songs, students will work in small groups to examine a19th-century folk song and an anti-slavery protest song that share the same melody but have different lyrics. Students will write their own protest song lyrics to the tune of these two songs, based on a current event they have researched. They will then perform and record their songs. View TEKS and download page

4th Grade

In Life on an African-American Farmstead, students compare their lives today to those of 19th-century rural Texans by exploring a colorful interactive scene of the farmstead. They also will also consider the evidence for this creative interpretation: the actual artifacts that represent the chores and farm activities depicted in the painting. View TEKS and download page