Possible roles include Harriet Tubman herself, a slave left behind in the South, a slave who has gained freedom, a helper (a "conductor") along the underground railway, a slave owner. For specific historical figures, refer to the section entitled "People" in this guide.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.Harriet Tubman was patriotic in a way that many today cannot be. She had to win her liberty and freedom. She had to learn of the pursuit of happiness in America from a place in which she was not free. What does it mean that all men are created equal? Why was slavery allowed when the Declaration of Independence said all men are created equal? What does unalienable mean? What are some of the unalienable rights with which men are endowed? What does freedom mean to you? Are people still treated as slaves today?
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:Have your students learn this amendment. Ask for and discuss student reactions to the passage. Why was it necessary to have an amendment to end slavery? What is involuntary servitude? The distinction of punishment for crime as separate from slavery is interesting, and can lead to an interesting discussion of the role of prisons in our society. Have the students write an essay on the meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
A study of the Fourteenth Amendment, which covers civil rights, is appropriate for this general topic. Also, there is Amendment 15, which guarantees individuals the right to vote regardless of race or having been a slave. Find a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln, and have the students discuss issues related to this document.