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Finding Freedom

Big Idea 1: Learning from Primary Sources

What are primary sources, and how did historians and museum curators use them to help understand Andrew, Deborah, Eve, Jack and London’s lives? 

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Finding Freedom

Big Idea 2: Eighteenth Century African American Identities

The men, women, and children of African descent living in British North America on the eve of the American Revolution were diverse in many ways.  

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Finding Freedom

Big Idea 3: Slavery in American Life

From North to South, slavery was practiced throughout the American colonies. It shaped colonial laws and the colonial economy, and it was also shaped by them.  

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Finding Freedom

Big Idea 4: Agency and Resistance

How did people of African descent resist slavery? Using their intelligence, their bodies, their words, and whatever tools they could find. 

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Finding Freedom

Big Idea 5: Slavery and Revolutionary Ideals

Some of the same people who preached liberty and equality held their fellow human beings as slaves. How, and why, did they justify this? 

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Finding Freedom

Big Idea 6: Choosing Sides

Choosing who to support in the American Revolution was not as easy as we may think. For people of African descent, the desire for freedom might lead them to either side. 

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Finding Freedom

Big Idea 7: Wartime Experiences

People of African descent served as soldiers, sailors, spies, camp followers and more over the course of the Revolutionary War. Others tried, or had no choice but, to stay out of it altogether. 

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Finding Freedom

Big Idea 8: After the War

The end of the Revolutionary War brought both hope and frustration for people of African descent, regardless of which side they had supported.  

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Finding Freedom: Teacher Resources

Access modular activities and ready-made worksheets to help your students dig deeper into the stories of people of African descent in the colonial and Revolutionary Eras in the Finding Freedom digital interactive.
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Finding Freedom Primary Sources

Muster rolls, pension records, letters, and more – these are a selection of the documents that informed our storytelling.
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Finding Freedom Glossary

The Finding Freedom glossary of terms may be useful as you explore the Finding Freedom Interactive, Big Ideas, and Primary Sources.
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Finding Freedom Interactive: Explore the stories of African American men and women in war-torn Virginia.

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