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Eastern Shore

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in the eastern shore of Maryland in 1822. This module explores both the regional differences in slaveholding practices and Harriet Tubman's harrowing early years in Dorchester County, Maryland. Students will analyze primary source documents and images from the Library of Congress and consider discussion prompts for more dialogue and deeper reflection.

Essential Question:

How does our childhood, environment, and experiences help shape who we are?

Thinking Questions:

  • Why did Harriet Tubman pray for strength and the ability to fight?
  • How did the size of farms on Maryland's Eastern Shore impact the local economy and treatment of enslaved people?
  • Historian Marisa J. Fuentes states that a “childhood experience in slavery is not a childhood." What does that mean to you?
  • Why did Harriet Tubman (and other enslaved women) endure harsher treatment and "intimate cruelty" from white mistresses who enslaved them?

Analyze the photograph, Fannie Virginia Casseopia Lawrence, a redeemed slave child, five years of age.

  • Who is the creator of this source? When was it made?
  • Look closely at the image and make observations about what you notice, wonder, and feel.
  • What questions do you have about childhood for enslaved children?
  • What do you think the source title means by “a redeemed slave child”?
  • What do you learn from this photo and caption that you might not learn anywhere else?

Examine the personal narrative transcript, (Ex-slave stories) CAROLINE HAMMOND (A fugitive).

  • What is the purpose of this oral history?
  • What do you notice, wonder, and feel after reading the narrative?
  • What do you learn from this personal narrative that you might not learn anywhere else?
  • How does engaging with Caroline Hammond’s story firsthand create an emotional impact for you?
  • What do you learn about the relationship of Caroline Hammond with the family who enslaved her?

Analyze the photograph, African American woman holding a white child.

  • Look closely at the image and make observations about what you notice, wonder, and feel.
  • Why do you think this photograph was taken?
  • Who are the people shown in the photograph? How are they arranged?
  • What’s missing from the photograph that you wonder about?
  • What can you learn from examining this photograph?


  • Students will analyze the impact of antebellum reform movements on American politics and society by:
    • Evaluating the impact of social reform movements on temperance, prison, and educational reform.

    • Tracing the evolution, arguments, and impacts of the antebellum women’s movement.

    • Identifying the methods, arguments, and impacts of the abolitionist movement.

  • D2.Civ.6.6-8. Describe the roles of political, civil, and economic organizations in shaping people’s lives.

  • D2.Civ.10.6-8. Explain the relevance of personal interests and perspectives, civic virtues, and democratic principles when people address issues and problems in government and civil society.

  • D2.Civ.14.6-8. Compare historical and contemporary means of changing societies, and promoting the common good.

  • D2.Geo.4.6-8. Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.

  • D2.His.1.6-8. Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.

  • D2.His.3.6-8. Use questions generated about individuals and groups to analyze why they, and the developments they shaped, are seen as historically significant.

  • RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • RH.6-8.8 Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.

  • RH.6-8.9 Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.

  • WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.