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History Lab - UMBC: An Honors University In Maryland

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RS#41
What was the AfricanAmerican perspective?
"I am here a prisoner for
the liberties of my country;
I never, NEVER, shall prove
a traitor to her interests."
At age 15, James Forten, a free black, served in the American navy during
the Revolutionary War on the privateer Royal Louis. The ship was
captured by the British in 1781 and Forten was sent to the English prison
ship Jersey. There, Forten made friends with the ship captain’s son in a
game of marbles. Usually captured African-American sailors would be
sent down to the West Indies where they would be forced back into slavery.
Instead his fortunate new friendship enabled Forten to be treated as a
regular prisoner of war. In fact, Captain Beasley even offered to send
Forten back to England with his son to receive an education there. Forten
refused, stating:
"I am here a prisoner for the liberties
of my country; I never, NEVER, shall
prove a traitor to her interests."
The war for independence ended while Forten was still
aboard the Jersey, so all American prisoners of war
were released. Forten became a leading citizen of
Philadelphia as a successful business man and
abolitionist.
Strategies Historians Use to
Analyze Historical Documents
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
Identify the type of document
п‚— Identify the author and any relevant information about
the author
Identify the date and historical context
Identify the audience
Identify the purpose for writing
Look for clues in the text that help to identify the author’s
perspectives
п‚— Word choice
п‚— Tone
п‚— Facts and opinions
п‚— Inferences
Connect the text back to the title
"I am here a prisoner for the liberties of my
country; I never, NEVER, shall prove a
traitor to her interests."
• Why did James Forten say this?
• Evaluate Forten’s decision not to go to Britain to get an
education with the captain’s son.
• What does this quote tell you about the AfricanAmerican perspective in answering our essential
question?
• Do you think that all African Americans felt this way?
Today, we will examine two more sources in
order to better understand how all African
Americans felt about the colonists’ decision to
revolt
African American Documents
You will think and work as a historian on your
own. You will be given one of two different
documents to closely read and analyze. You will
need to use your historian strategies to analyze
these documents. You will have time to analyze
and complete your Historical Document Log on
your own. Remember to include specific
information from the text and a concluding
statement. Then you will share with another
classmate who has analyzed another primary
source document. Then we will all discuss what
we’ve learned about the African-American
perspective.
п‚—
Strategies Historians Use to
Analyze
Historical
Documents
Identify the type of document
Identify the author and any relevant information about
the author
Identify the date and historical context
Identify the audience
Identify the purpose for writing
Look for clues in the text that help to identify the author’s
perspectives
п‚— Word choice
п‚— Tone
п‚— Facts and opinions
п‚— Inferences
Connect the text back to the title
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
п‚—
You should be in a group
with a #1 and #2 student.
• Take turns.
• Speak clearly.
• Listen carefully.
• Ask questions.
Prime and Prince think that the colonies
should revolt against Great Britain because
the cause of liberty is a noble cause. They
admire the Patriots for fighting for their
liberty. They are fighting for a similar cause
in their petition. They wish to gain their
freedom from the detestable practice and sin
of slavery.
In reality both houses rejected the petition.
It is chipping away at the institution of
slavery though little by little. This petition
was written in Connecticut and they
abolished slavery in 1848 before the start of
the Civil War. Even one petition by a slave
can get people thinking about doing the
right thing.
Lord Dunmore wrote this proclamation to
convince colonists to join the British army.
He tells all men that are able to carry a
weapon to join. He offers freedom to any
slave or indentured servant that joins. Lord
Dunmore proclaims that anyone that does
not support the British in this revolution is
committing treason and is a traitor to their
country, Great Britain. Lord Dunmore does
not agree with the colonists’ revolt.
Many slaveholders were upset because their
slaves were running away to join the Loyalist
army. George Washington and the Second
Continental Congress were hesitant to offer the
same deal to African Americans to fight for his
army because of this but eventually needed for
more soldiers. Washington and Congress
conceded and allowed African Americans to join
in exchange for freedom too.
Lord Dunmore doesn’t want the colonists to revolt,
whereas Prince and Prime do want the colonists to
revolt. They both have different motives for their
decisions, but are furthering their own causes. Lord
Dunmore is willing to free the slaves so they can fight in
his army and prevent the colonists from breaking away.
Prince and Prime want the slaves freed to have better
lives. They relate this quest for freedom to the colonies’
quest for liberty from Great Britain.
Wrap Up Discussion
What was the AfricanAmerican perspective?
Tomorrow, we will have a debate!
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