Lesson Plan : From Africa to America

Teacher Name:
 D. Palms
 Grade 11-12
 Literature Activities

 Olaudah Equiano's "From Africa to America"...true story of a young man who was captured in Africa and brought to America on a slave ship.
 Slavery in the United States (1619-1865) began with the sale of twenty Africans at Jamestown and continued until the Civil War ended. Historians estimate that between 9 and 10 million Africans were seized from their homelands and shipped to the New World against their will. During the two-month voyage from Africa to America, as many as two-thirds of the slaves died from the combined effects of disease, bad food, harsh treatment, overcrowding, and despair. Key Vocabulary: apprehension, clamor, dejected, inconceivable, loathsomeness, pacify, pestilential, salutation, scruple, stench.
 To understand and appreciate an excerpt from an autobiography To gain a heightened level of awareness and empathy for those who were forced to endure the horrors of America's history of enslavement.
 To demonstrate a deeper comprehension of the Equiano selection through the completion of a host of study/discussion questions and a choice of writing options, including journal writing, message writing, and first-person narration To recognize and analyze the author's use of "sensory" details
 Excerpt from American Literature textbook Audio recording (if available) Vocabulary worksheet Selection and vocabulary proficiency tests Scene from film Amistad or Roots Painting (The Slave Ship) Diagram of slave ship
 Olaudah Equiano, eleven years old at the time of his capture in the area that is now Nigeria, was sold to British slave traders in 1756 and sent to the island of Barbados in the West Indies. Equiano eventually managed to buy his freedom. Afterwards, he traveled to England and became involved in the antislavery movement. In 1789, Equiano published a book from which this excerpt is taken. The lesson should begin with a brief discussion of the topic of slavery (see topic/content)...get a feel for what the class already knows and their general preconceptions. (How would you define the word slave and what human rights were denied them?)Use the painting and diagram as visual aids to offer a sense of the harsh conditions on board such a vessel. If time permits, show scenes from the suggested films involving the transport of slaves. Draw as many connections between the various media as possible; also identifying the subtle differences. Have the class work on the vocabulary worksheet and identify the context in which the word was used in the text. Create a simple chart on the overhead projector (columns headed by each of the five senses). Students are to fill in as many sensory details from the text as they can, finding at least one example for each sense. Allow students to copy the chart and complete it as they read along with the audio cassette.
 While listening to the audio recording and following along in the textbook, fill in the original chart on the overhead (with it turned off or covered up). Compare your responses with those of the class and highlight any relevant points missed by the class.
 Discussion Questions: 1. What were Equiano's reactions when he first saw the ship and the sea? Why? 2. Why was Equiano seldom able to eat aboard the ship? 3. On slave ships, what did many Africans resort to as a way out of their misery? 4. Where did the ship eventually land? 5. What effect does the first paragraph have on the rest of the selection?
 Audio/Visual aids will help vary the method of instruction. Open forum discussions and small group/team work will be incorporated through the completion of assignments. Difficult passages may be separated and examined briefly for deeper comprehension.
Checking For Understanding:
 Respond to the writing assignments individually, allowing several students to share. Administer the selection and vocabulary tests. After they are graded, discuss the results with the class. Generically mark incorrect responses and have students correct their mistakes.
 Discuss this new wave of Americans and the effects that slavery has had on American culture/society. (Compare/Contrast slavery vs. immigration) Due to circumstances beyond their control, a slave's first contribution to their new country was made through grueling, forced physical labor. Have students name some of the more recent contributions in the fields of science, literature, politics, music, and business.
 Oral/written responses to discussion questions, short writing assignments, and tests/quizzes
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