Web-based Content

From Courage to Freedom: Slavery's Dehumanizing Effects

Grade Levels

10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 9th Grade

Course, Subject

Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening,Social Studies
  • Big Ideas
    The history of the United States continues to influence its citizens, and has impacted the rest of the world.
    Interpersonal Communication
    Interpretive Communication
  • Concepts
    Conflict and cooperation among social groups, organizations, and nation-states are critical to comprehending society in the United States. Domestic instability, ethnic and racial relations, labor relation, immigration, and wars and revolutions are examples of social disagreement and collaboration.
    Conflict and cooperation among social groups, organizations, and nation-states are critical to comprehending the American society.
    Groups that have influenced United States history had different beliefs, customs, ceremonies, traditions, and social practices.
    Human organizations work to socialize members and, even though there is a constancy of purpose, changes occur over time.
    Social entities clash over disagreement and assist each other when advantageous.
    Careers where language and cultural competence are important
    Community events, performances, exhibits that relate to the target culture
    Language (vocabulary, grammar, sound system) to exchange information about school, activities, friends
    Products, artifacts, and perspectives Students know… How to scan authentic materials (newspapers, articles, websites, magazines, TV) for products and perspectives of the culture
    Products, artifacts, and perspectives Students know… Songs, dances, visual artwork from the target culture
    Products, artifacts, and perspectives Students know…Contemporary and traditional artifacts from daily life (e.g., toys, sports equipment, clothing)
    Products, artifacts, and perspectives Students know…Informational materials (e.g., menus, schedules, ads, graphics)
    Social interactions, practices, and perspectives Students know… How to scan authentic materials (newspapers, articles, websites, magazines, TV) for practices and perspectives of the culture
    Vocabulary and cultural knowledge to “survive” in the language
  • Competencies
    Contrast how a historically important issue in the United States was resolved and compare what techniques and decisions may be applied today.
    Identify a group in United States history and explain how it differed from other groups.
    Summarize how conflict and compromise in United States history impact contemporary society.
    Accomplish simple “survival” tasks such as ordering food, exchanging money, buying goods or services.
    Ask and answer questions about their daily lives
    Create a project (e.g., poster, haiku) related to how a product is related to the culture studied
    Identify and talk about well known landmarks from the target culture
    Initiate, sustain, and close a conversation about a person or event
    Interact in cultural contexts with appropriate verbal and nonverbal expressions
    Interview in person or electronically native speakers about school life, social and political issues
    Name local, national, and global opportunities where language skills are used
    Obtain information (through interviews with native speakers, texts, films, and websites) and demonstrate the similarities and differences found
    Obtain information and participate in age appropriate cultural experiences/simulations
    Participate in service learning if speakers of the language studied are in the local community
    Talk about well known holidays and celebrations


One of Douglass's goals in his autobiography is to illustrate beyond doubt that slavery had an insidious, spirit-killing effect on the slaveholder as well as the slave. In other words, in the master-slave relationship both parties suffered, whether it was spiritual corruption, physical pain, or both. Douglass asks his readers to consider the effects of this "peculiar institution" on humanity.

Web-based Resource

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