Teaching Race, Slavery, and Equality: Primary Sources in the Classroom

Morning Session, 9:30am-12:30pm: Dr. Tikia K. Hamilton

This morning session will emphasize teaching primary sources, with special attention to issues of race, slavery, and equality in the framing of early American history. We will consider how these teaching frameworks can broaden classroom discussions to include not only the canonical figures of American history (Jefferson, Lincoln, Douglass, etc.), but also people of color, who actively contributed to political discourses during the colonial and antebellum eras. A brief lecture will begin the day, and will incorporate methodological frameworks that center multiculturalism and gender theory to consider multiple approaches to various texts, such as those penned by David Walker, Phyllis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, and Maria Stewart. We will then discuss as a group possible approaches to classroom application.

Afternoon Session, 1:30-3:30: Frank Valadez

This afternoon session will use a workshop approach to developing curriculum resources, centered on primary source documents, that engage students in conversations about the ongoing history of our Constitutional and political system and their place in it. Breakout sessions will focus on ways to integrate historical sources as well as diverse forms of media—such as podcasts, video, or art—to help students investigate questions of race and equality in American history. The goal is for teachers to have, by the end of this seminar, potential resources and working lesson plans or activities to bring back to their classrooms.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the Newberry’s professional development programs for teachers, including this seminar, will operate virtually via Zoom.


Dr. Tikia Hamilton is an Educational Consultant with Triple Ivy Writing and Educational Solutions and Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry Library.

Frank Valadez is Director, Division for Public Education, American Bar Association.

This workshop is cosponsored by the Jack Miller Center in partnership with the Montesquieu Forum and Harvey L. Miller Founding Civics Initiative.