African-Americans in the Atlantic world of the 1700s

Liberty, Race and Slavery in British North America in the Age of the Enlightenment

In the light of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, Europe and around the world today, this three-to-five lesson unit seeks to elaborate on the context of African-Americans in the Atlantic world of the 1700s, by focusing on the roles and voices – the agency – of African-Americans during this period. Many of these lessons focus on geographic connections – especially to Virginia. These lesson plans are designed for AP  History/Geography classes.

They were written by Colin Baker, AP European History, World History II, Blacksburg High School; and participant in the VGA-sponsored When We Were British Project. He writes:

Jamaica features prominently in Lesson Two which is based in part around the recent excellent work by Vincent Brown of Harvard “Tacky’s Revolt”. His book and research has been hailed by geographers and is geographic-connection heavy, complete with some fantastic maps of West Africa and Jamaica. I’ve supplemented Lesson Two with more maps.

Other parts here relevant to the VGA would be the “Slavery is War” overview, which is based on Brown’s work and the multiple overlapping geographic areas of warfare and identity that British slave plantations in Jamaica encompassed: local to the island and it’s geography; West African geography and it’s role in the slave trade; the Seven Years War and the wider geographic connections between Jamaica and mainland North America – especially Virginia.

Lesson Three builds on these connections between Jamaica and Virginia, while my When We Were British  supplemental Powerpoint on the role of the West Indies in the American Revolution does the same.


Liberty Race and Slavery: Objectives

Slavery as War: Overview

Lesson Plan 1: The Origins of Race in the USA during the Enlightenment and the transformative power of African-American assertions of liberty in the Age of Revolutions

Lesson Plan 2: Legacies of Liberty: the impact of an African-American revolt in Jamaica on Virginia and mainland British North America

Lesson Plan 3: The crucial role and complex voice of African-Americans towards Britain in the American Revolution

Supplemental Final Lesson: Legacies of Slavery -  – student research project

Supplemental PowerPoint: Central Role of the West Indies in the American Revolution.  Note: Look for the PowerPoint under “National Identity Resources”, Period Two Resources: 1648-1815. ["Excellent use of geo-literacy ... for developing a 'big' picture of events.... This  perspective is missing from most American history accounts of the Revolution."_E. Kinman]

Relevant Liberty Race and Slavery AP Euro and AP CED References and Relevant AP European History CED References during Period Two: Themes, Objectives, Historical Developments and Illustrative Examples

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