Literature for Lesson 2

Vocabulary for Lesson 2

slavery

Find 6 words or groups of words that mean the same as slavery.

independence bondage captivity freedom liberty common labor
imprisonment release discharge confinement servitude set free

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Fiction

A Study of the Underground Railroad

Reading Rainbow Episode Follow the Drinking Gourd

Runaway slaves journey north along the Underground Railroad by following directions in a song, "The Drinking Gourd." LeVar celebrates the road to freedom paved by the Underground Railroad, introducing viewers to the history, heroes, stories and music of the African American culture which emerged from slavery. An a cappella group, Sweet Honey In The Rock, perform and share their historical knowledge of slavery.

Follow the Drinking Gourd
by Jeanette Winter
AR Reading Level 4.3  Point Value 0.5

By following the directions in a song, "The Drinking Gourd," taught them by an old sailor named Peg Leg Joe, runaway slaves journey north along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.

Activities with this book:

The Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad (An I Can Read Book)
by F. N. Monjo, Fred Brenner (Illustrator)
AR Reading Level 2.9  Point Value 0.5

Journey to Freedom: A Story of the Underground Railroad
by Courtni C. Wright, Gershom Griffith (Illustrator)
AR Reading Level 4.3  Point Value 0.5

Joshua and his family, runaway slaves from a tobacco plantation in Kentucky, follow the Underground Railroad to freedom.

During this unit students read the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. Then students made their own freedom quilt.

Making a Freedom Quilt

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Activities with The Drinking Gourd

Research the secret meanings to the words sung by the slaves.

Example from Follow the Drinkin' Gourd

When the sun come back and the first quail calls,
Follow the Drinkin' Gourd,
For the old man's waitin' for to carry you to freedom,
If you follow the Drinkin' Gourd.

The meaning:

At sunset you will hear someone make a sound like a quail. If you head north in the direction of the North Star you will find someone waiting to lead you along the Underground Railroad to freedom in the North.

Other examples:

heaven / home a better life in the North
Jesus / Lord Harriet Tubman or another conductor of the Underground Railroad
chariot the Underground Railroad
drinkin' gourd the Big Dipper
Judgment Day time of  escape

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