The Freedom on the Move project, an online collection devoted to fugitives from slavery in 19th century North America, has developed a series of lesson plans to make its crowdsourced database accessible to K-12 teachers and their students.
The project is a database of tens of thousands of advertisements placed by enslavers who wanted to recapture self-liberating Africans and African Americans.
Housed at Cornell, Freedom on the Move was developed by a team of historians from Cornell, Ohio State University, the University of Alabama, the University of Kentucky and the University of New Orleans. The free, open-source site – a joint project of the Department of History, the Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research and Cornell University Library – launched in February 2019.
Now, in collaboration with The Hard History Project, led by Montgomery, Alabama-based education researcher Kate Shuster, Freedom on the Move has taken steps to dramatically increase use of the archive in K-12 classrooms.
The pilot collection includes four lessons, written by teachers from Atlanta public schools, with explanatory videos and samples of student work. These materials were used this spring during the pandemic, proving that even difficult conversations can be had remotely.
A free Zoom webinar about these new resources will be held June 3 at 7 p.m. The webinar, capped at 500 participants, is open to all teachers; panelists will include Ed Baptist, professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences and one of the developers of Freedom on the Move.
– Tom Fleischman