In the 1930s, different historians, folklorists, and others as a part of the Works Progress Administration, made a point to interview the aging population of black Americans who were alive before the Civil War and remembered slavery. They collected more than 2,300 narratives and memoirs called the WPA American Slave Narratives. They are available in their entirety on the Library of Congress’s website. I am providing you with 11 selections of men and women telling their stories about life before the Civil War.
Your assignment is to write a 3 page essay examining the narratives I have provided answering this question: in what ways were the roles of African American men significantly different from women before the Civil War?
There are many ways to approach this essay, but my recommendation is to approach the topic thematically. Pick 2-3 themes, like family, work, or health, etc., create an argument and use the sources to support your argument.
Students will be evaluated on their thesis, their ability to use the sources to support their thesis, their overall comprehensive approach to the topic, as well as their clarity of writing.
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