African-Americans in the Thirteen Colonies (Cornerstones of Freedom)

What I Learned Section 1 -- Answer the Following Questions:
1. Who was the first African-American doctor to practice in the American colonies?

James Derham. James Derham was born a slave in 1767. His master, also a doctor, provided Derham with medical books. Derham became the first African-American doctor in the American colonies and a leading doctor in New Orleans.

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2. What year did the Boston Massacre occur?
1770. In the late 1760's, talks of colonial independence began to stir and tensions between the American colonies and Britain increased. On March 5, 1770, a crowd of colonialists insulted British soldiers, and the soldiers opened fire. Three people died and eight were wounded. Crispus Attucks was one of the people who died. Did you know Attucks is considered by Historians to be the first casualty in the American Revolution?

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3. What happened on July 4, 1776?
The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The Declaration of Independence declared the American colonies independent from British rule. It begins, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among that are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." With the approval and signing of the Declaration of Independence it is puzzling to think how can it be said "all men are created equal" in a nation that allows slavery.

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4. True or False: About 5,000 African-Americans fought in the American Revolution.
True. The American Revolution was fought from 1775 to 1783. During this war, approximately 5,000 slave and free African-Americans served with local militia and the Continental Army and Navy. The Continental Army was fully integrated. Did you know African-Americans fought at the Battles of Concord and Lexington (the first battles of the war) and the Battle of Bunker Hill?

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5. What year did Vermont prohibit slavery?
1777. Vermont prohibited slavery within its borders in 1777. By 1804, northern states passed laws abolishing slavery. The South, however, depended on slavery. By the mid-1800's the United States was divided over the issue of slavery: the North wanted to abolish (end) slavery, and the South wanted slavery to continue.

When Abraham Lincoln was elected president in November, 1860, South Carolina seceded (withdrew) from the Union. In March, 1861, Lincoln was sworn in as the 16th President. Eleven Southern states had seceded from the Union and formed their own government called the Confederate States of America. Slavery was legal in the Confederate States of America. The issue of slavery was one of the causes leading up to the Civil War in 1861.

Four years later, in 1865, the North had defeated the South, and the United States was again one nation. The Thirteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1865. It abolishes slavery in the United States.

Although slavery was unconstitutional, African-Americans were not treated fairly and equally. One hundred years later, during the 1950's and 1960's, the Civil Rights Movement fought for equality, justice, and liberty for all Americans.

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What I Learned Section 2 -- Define the following words:
Bondage: Slavery; the state of being held or controlled against one's will

Chattel: Piece of personal property

Indentured Servant: Person who legally bound himself or herself to work for a master for a period of time

Insurrection: Revolt against a ruling organization

Passive Resistance: Nonviolent act of defiance toward authority, such as slaves stopping work to protest an overseer's cruel treatment

Stamp Act: Tax placed on the American colonies by Britain in 1765

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Bonus Questions (Answer 1 of the Following Questions for Your FREE Bookmark):
a. Describe a slave's capture in Africa and journey to America.
When Africans were captured in Africa and brought to the American colonies, there was no distinction between age, gender or social classes. Raiding parties swept through villages in Africa and captured men, women, and children from many social classes, including princes and peasants.

The African prisoners were branded on the chest with the mark on the slave trader, striped naked, and chained together. They were loaded onto a cramped boat to begin the several month journey to America. There was no bathroom. Disease was very high -- about one in ten Africans died during the passage across the Atlantic Ocean.

Between 1500 and 1800, European slave traders brought approximately ten million Africans to the Americas. About five percent of these slaves came to the American colonies. The other 95 percent were shipped to the West Indies, Brazil, or Latin American colonies.

Once in America, slave owners inspected the slaves. They felt their muscles, examined their teeth, and checked for disease. Slave families were often torn apart because the family members were sold to different owners.

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b. Name ONE African-American mentioned in this book and describe one of his or her accomplishments.
Estéban was a trailblazer and guide during the early European expeditions into what is now the southern United States.

Anthony Johnson came to the American colonies as a slave. He became a respected Virginia landowner.

Mathias Sousa was a servant. He became rich trading with Native Americans and was elected to the Maryland Assembly.

Onesimus was a slave in Massachusetts. In 1721, Onesimus told his master about inoculations. In Africa, doctors intentionally infected healthy people with a small dose of a disease to prevent them from becoming seriously ill with the disease later. Onesimus' master shared this information with a doctor, and it led to the first smallpox inoculations given in the American colonies.

James Derham was born a slave in 1767, and became the first African-American doctor in the American colonies.

Benjamin Banneker was born a free man in Maryland in 1731. He excelled in science and math, and he was interested in astronomy. Although he had never seen a clock, Banneker built a clock which kept perfect time for fifty years. He was only 22 years old at the time. Banneker was also one of the surveyors who laid out the boundaries of what would later became Washington, D.C.

Phillis Wheatley was born in Africa in 1753. She was captured when she was eight years old and brought to Boston. Wheatley learned to read and became an accomplished poet. Her book of poems was published in 1773. Did you know one of her poems was about General George Washington?

Samuel Fraunces owned a hotel and restaurant in New York City which George Washington visited.

Emmanuel and Mary Bernoon ran a restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island.

Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable was born in St. Marc, Sainte-Domingue. He established a fur trader trading business on Lake Michigan. Today, this area is called Chicago. Did you know he was the first non-Native American to settle in this area and is considered the founder of Chicago?

Crispus Attucks was killed during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. Did you know Attucks is considered by Historians to be the first casualty in the American Revolution?

Elizabeth Freeman was a slave named Bett from Sheffield, Massachusetts. She successfully sued for her freedom stating slavery violated the new Massachusetts Constitution. She was a free woman and changed her name to Elizabeth Freeman.

Salem Poor was a hero at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was praised as a "brave and gallant soldier."

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c. Describe how African-Americans were treated in the Thirteen Colonies.
The first written record of Africans coming to the American colonies as slaves appeared in 1619. At first, Africans were treated the same as white indentured servants. Indentured servants worked on a farm for four to seven years in exchange for passage to the American colonies. After that time, they were given their freedom.

Throughout the 1600's, however, the colonialists depended more and more on slaves to work their large plantations and grow crops like indigo, tobacco, rice, and cotton. Unlike Native Americans, Africans were less likely to escape because they were not familiar with the terrain. Unlike English indentured servants, Africans could not appeal to their government for protection. American colonies, including Virginia and Maryland, rescinded its laws giving Africans their freedom, and slavery became a lifelong condition.

Slaves were treated as chattel (or personal property) and could be bought or sold. The children of slaves became the property of the slave owner. Interracial marriages were prohibited.

In 1740, there were 150,024 slaves in the thirteen colonies, mostly in the South. Most slaves worked in the fields. Some slaves helped with household chores. Slave women often looked after the slave owners' children.

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d. Use five of the words in Section 2 in a sentence.
Answers will vary. Here are sample sentences from our young readers:
The institution of slavery or bondage is unconsitutional in the United States.

My skateboard is my favorite chattel.

I sometimes feel like an indentured servant when I'm doing my chores.

A country is not at peace when there is an insurrection.

Martin Luther King, Jr. practiced passive resistance.

The American colonies thought the Stamp Act was an unfair tax.

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e. Have a parent or friend give you a spelling test with EACH of the words in Section 2.

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More Valuable Information about African-Americans in the Thirteen Colonies:
African-American Mosaic: Abolition (Library of Congress)
The African-American World (PBS)
Encyclopedia Britannica Guide to Black History
World Book Encyclopedia: The African American Journey

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