Lesson Plan: Overview

Lesson Plan One: Slavery and Manumission

Grade Level: 8th


Academic Standards

Standard 8-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of South Carolina and the United States by Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans.

8-1.4 Explain the growth of the African American population during the colonial period and the significance of African Americans in the developing culture (e.g., Gullah) and economy of South Carolina, including the origins of African American slaves, the growth of the slave trade, the impact of population imbalance between African and European Americans, and the Stono Rebellion and subsequent laws to control the slave population.

Standard 8-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Civil War—its causes and effects and the major events that occurred during that time.

8-3.1 Explain the importance of agriculture in antebellum South Carolina, including plantation life, slavery, and the impact of the cotton gin.

8-3.3 Draw conclusions about how sectionalism arose from events or circumstances of racial tension, internal population shifts, and political conflicts, including the Denmark Vesey plot, slave codes, and the African American population majority.

Historical Background Notes

No historical background notes available for this lesson plan.


Primary Sources
  • Teacher-created Pretest
  • Bond paper with an old look will be provided for students to write the final copy of the manumission letter

Lesson Plans

No lesson plan available.


The focus question of this lesson is: What is Manumission?  Students receive teacher instruction and explore the topic on their own.  The lesson has students apply their academic knowledge in a creative exercise.  This lesson takes two class periods of 90 minutes.

  1. The lesson should be conducted after the students have been taught about manumission in a class discussion/lesson.
  2. Authentic documents of manumission will be shared with the class and discussed at length.
  3. Students will then receive a copy of a document of manumission they must transcribe together in the group, type and submit for grading of accuracy.
  4. On day two, open the lesson with the enclosed pretest or create a pretest of your own. 
  5. Close the lesson with a question and answer session, and be sure you have answered all questions covered in the pretest.
  6. Place students in groups of three to four students.  The task of the group is to create a letter of Manumission for a slave.  Base the letter of manumission in both fact and fiction.  Use actual dates and places where this event may have occurred in a South Carolina county.  Think of places like Boone Hall, Middleton Place, and Drayton Hall Plantation etc. where the slave may have been enslaved.  Each group will be given a copy of an actual letter of manumission to use as a guide while writing their letter.  They must come up with a name of a free black that truly lived in Charleston. They will decide if the papers of manumission will include the freeing of children.
  7. To complete the writing of the manumission letter: check for the flow of the details, write the rough draft in its final form on the bond paper provided, aim for a look of authenticity.

Back to "Slavery, Manumission, and Freedom"

Teacher Reflections

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Student Assessment

No student assessment available for this lesson plan.

Examples of Students Work

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Provided by the Teaching American History in South Carolina Project