by Leigh Dekle
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Learning to Read
- Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Francis Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911) was the child of free African American parents. In her adult life, Harper helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad and wrote for abolitionist newspapers. In this poem, Harper describes what it was like to have been discouraged from learning how to read.Pair “Learning to Read” with “From Slaves to Sharecroppers” and ask students to discuss how the education of slaves affected freedmen after the abolition of slavery. How and why did whites attempt to keep slaves from learning how to read? How do students think this could limit freedmen’s job opportunities after the Civil War?
Henry Adams’ Testimony Before Congress
- Henry Adams
In “Henry Adams’ Testimony Before Congress,” a person who was freed from slavery discusses his experiences working as a sharecropper following the Civil War.Pair “Henry Adams’ Testimony Before Congress” with “From Slaves to Sharecroppers” to provide students with additional information about sharecropping. How does the information about sharecropping in “From Slaves to Sharecroppers” compare to Henry Adams’ personal experiences as a sharecropper? How do both texts explore how sharecropping was a different form of slavery?
With Liberty and Justice for All?
- Dianne Swann-Wright
In Dianne Swann-Wright’s “With Liberty and Justice for All?” Hannah, a fictious slave of Thomas Jefferson, describes her life as a slave.Pair “From Slaves to Sharecroppers” with “With Liberty and Justice for All?” to provide students with information about the time after slavery was brought to an end in the United States. How did slavery end? How did the lives of former slaves change? How do students think Hannah would react to the idea that slavery wouldn’t end until 1865 and former slaves would continue to be mistreated?