The Underground Railroad - Suggested Reading & Freedom Quilt Craftivity
Along with famous African Americans, the Underground Railroad is another important topic to cover with your kinders during Black History Month. Terry over at Mathwire.com shared a great lesson that combines several literature selections and a fun craftivity that will help your kiddos connect with history.
The Underground Railroad. Despite its name, it was neither underground nor a set of physical train tracks. It was, in fact, a network of people – free blacks, other slaves, and white abolitionists – who risked their lives, resources, and even their freedom to transport escaped slaves from the Southern States to the North. With its risks and obstacles, secrecy was key for all involved in the Underground Railroad.
One obstacle – and not even the most perilous – was the literacy barrier. Because it was against the law to teach a slave to read or write, those involved in the Underground Railroad had to create codes that would transcend the literacy barrier. These codes, in the form of memorized symbols, code phrases/words, and even spirituals, etc. were unknown to slave owners and provided a way to pass messages, warnings, and instructions. Many historians believe that these codes were hidden in quilts, a common household item that would not draw attention, and today call them freedom quilts because of their role in helping many escape the bonds of slavery.
Terry suggests having your kinders create their own freedom quilts. For the full lesson plan and suggested reading, be sure to visit Mathwire.com!