African Americans and Slavery (Mexican, Native American) in the Early American Colonies Supplements and Resources

African Americans and Slavery (Mexican, Native American) in the Early American Colonies Supplements and Resources

Dates covered: 1619-1783

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Coloring Pages:

I can’t find any specifically for African American slavery in this time period, but these from the revolt on the Amistad will work very well. 

American History Easy Make and Learn Books:

Interactive 3D Maps: American History

  • Slave Ships Cross the Atlantic, Page 38

Books (All Ages): 


A Land of Books: Dreams of Young Mexihcah Word Painters inspired by the pre-Columbian codices, this picture book tells the story of how—contrary to the historical narrative that European colonizers bestowed “civilization” and knowledge to the Americas—the Aztecs and their neighbors in the Valley of Mexico painted books and records long before Columbus arrived, and continued doing so among their Nahua-speaking descendants for generations after the Spanish Conquest. Level 4.3. Mexico. Middle or older students. 

La Malinche: The Princess Who Helped Cortés Conquer the Aztec Emperor, a long picture book about a young slave girl who became one of the most important women in the country, both a hero and a traitor to her people. Level 8.2. Older students. 


African-Americans in the Colonies (We the People)

African-Americans in the Colonies nonfiction look at the first African slaves in America, starting in Jamestown, level 6.5

African-Americans in the Thirteen Colonies Cornerstones of Freedom series. Using many photographs, this is a simple overview of the part played by African Americans during the formative years of the colonial period. The freedom sought by so many Europeans who came to America was not shared with many Africans & their descendants. The brief descriptions in this book tell of slavery as well as the limited freedoms of free blacks. Contains images that might affect sensitive readers.


See my page on the Mayflower, for Squanto and other Native Americans in slavery 


Escape Across the Wide Sea When his family’s weaving shop is destroyed because his family refuses to convert to the king’s religion, Daniel and his family flee France and the only home they’ve ever known and end up on a two-year journey aboard various sea vessels that take them to Africa, the Caribbean, and their final destination of the colony of New York in 1688. Gives an in-depth look at a slavery ship and slavery in the Caribbean. Level 3.6, but sensitive readers might struggle. New York. Middle to Older students. 


Amos Fortune, Free Man When Amos Fortune was only fifteen years old, he was captured by slave traders and brought to Massachusetts, where he was sold at auction. Although his freedom had been taken, Amos never lost his dignity and courage. For 45 years, Amos worked as a slave and dreamed of freedom. And, at age 60, he finally began to see those dreams come true. Level 6.5. Older students. 


Crispus Attucks: Black Leader of Colonial Patriots Childhood of Famous Americans series. Crispus Attucks was born into slavery around 1723, the son of an African American enslaved person and a Natick Indian. After years of forced labor in the Boston area, Crispus escaped and began working on trading ships and whaling vessels until his death in the Boston Massacre. A Childhood of Famous Americans biography.  Middle students. Massachusetts. 


Fort Mose: And the Story of the Man Who Built the First Free Black Settlement in Colonial America, longer, more difficult nonfiction picture book for older children. Level 8.4


A Slave Family A Slave Family helps bring to life the many struggles slaves faced during the colonial period, while also celebrating the strength found in family ties. Photos and illustrations accompany clear, engaging text that offers a glimpse into the personal relationships and daily activities that were part of slave family life. Children will learn: – what slavery is – how slavery became part of life in the colonies – what daily life was like for a slave family – how they maintained their cultural traditions from Africa – what it was like to be a child slave and whether they received any education – what kind of work was performed by field hands, house servants, and tradespeople – the difficulty of keeping the family together since slaves were often sold – what happened to slaves when they were freed. Younger to Middle students. Level 6.6. 


The Kidnapped Prince: The Life of Olaudah Equiano Olaudah Equiano is one of the few slaves who was able to write and publish the true story of his life as a slave. Kidnapped at the age of 11 from his home in Benin, Africa, Olaudah Equiano spent the next 11 years as a slave in England, the U.S., and the West Indies, until he was able to buy his freedom. His autobiography, published in 1789, was a bestseller in its own time. Cameron has modernized and shortened it while remaining true to the spirit of the original. It’s a gripping story of adventure, betrayal, cruelty, and courage. In searing scenes, Equiano describes the savagery of his capture, the appalling conditions on the slave ship, the auction, and the forced labor. . . . Kids will read this young man’s story on their own; it will also enrich curriculum units on history and writing. Mature middle to older students. 


Caesar’s Story: 1759 Caesar’s life as a slave consisted of long, hard hours of backbreaking work in the fields. Having his family around him makes everything bearable. Then the new master, Caesar’s childhood playmate, chooses Caesar to be his personal servant and live in the big house, away from his family. Why do things have to change? Follow Caesar as he learns to grow up and be a good slave.  Middle students contains some hard themes related to slavery. Level 5.1. Middle students. Virginia. 


Look to the Hills: The Diary of Lozette Moreau, a French Slave Girl, New York Colony 1763 A Dear America book, explores the life of an African French slave girl, who is treated very well for a slave because of the French laws, who comes to America with her Mistress during the time of Pontiac’s Rebellion. New York. 


Crispus Attucks and the Boston Massacre (Jr. Graphic African-American History) Readers will discover that, even as a free man, Attucks fought for the equality of others. Uses the graphic format to show readers how this man lived out his heroic life and how he came to be a key figure in our struggle for independence in this graphic novel. Level 4.2. Middle students. 


Freedom’s Pen: A Story Based on the Life of the Young Freed Slave and Poet Phillis Wheatley Daughters of the Faith series, Christian themed.  1761—Phillis Wheatley was a little girl of seven or eight years old when she was captured in Africa and brought to America as a slave. But she didn’t let her circumstances keep her down. She learned to read and write in English and Latin and showed a natural gift for poetry. By the time she was twelve, her elegy at the death of the great pastor George Whitefield brought her worldwide acclaim. Phillis became known to heads of state, including George Washington himself, speaking out for American independence and the end of slavery.  She became the first African American to publish a book, and her writings would eventually win her freedom. More importantly, her poetry still proclaims Christ almost 250 years later. Middle to Older students. Massachusetts. 

My Name is Phillis Wheatley; A Story of Slavery and Freedom This is the remarkable story of Phillis Wheatley, who is born into an African family of griots, or storytellers, but captured by slave raiders and forced aboard a slave ship, where appalling conditions spell death for many of her companions. Numerous sharks follow the ship, feeding on the corpses of slaves thrown overboard. Weakened by the voyage and near death in a Boston slave market, Wheatley is bought by a kind family who nurses her back to health and teaches her to read and write. Soon her mistress recognizes that the girl is a quick learner and talented. At the age of 12, a torrent of poetry begins to flow out of Wheatley. Proud of her achievements, her mistress organizes readings in Boston’s finest parlors and drawing rooms, and Wheatley’s fame spreads. But even when many in Boston are calling her a prodigy and a genius, some remain unsure that a slave should be able to write, much less write poetry. When Phillis travels to London she is a media sensation, feted by the cream of English society. A book of her poems is published, and she finally gains her freedom. This amazing story, wide in scope, is based on fact and told convincingly from young Wheatley’s point of view. Level 5.7. Massachusetts. Older students, sensitive content. 

Phillis Wheatley: Colonial American Poet (Fact Finders)

Phillis Wheatley: Colonial American Poet Provides an introduction to the life and biography of Phillis Wheatley, the colonial slave who became one of America’s first black poets. Touches lightly on slavery. Level 4.6. Younger to Middle students. 

Phillis’ Big Test In 1773, Phillis Wheatley published a book of poetry. It was a great accomplishment that made her very famous. Only a year before, Phillis had had to take a test to prove that she was the actual author of these poems because Phillis Wheatley was a slave. Phillis believed in the power of her words, and her writing to prove her talent, and used the power of words to change a life.

Phillis Wheatley: Young Revolutionary Poet (10) (Young Patriots series)

Phillis Wheatley: Young Revolutionary Poet Phillis Wheatley’s rise from slavery to recognition as the foremost African American poet in the American colonies is featured in this volume of the Young Patriots series. Focusing on Phillis’s early years, this profile reveals her illiterate beginnings in the Wheatley family and the turbulent pre–Pre-Revolutionary War climate in which she became an avid student and young poet. Young readers will rejoice as she protects her friend Nat from British soldiers after the Boston Tea Party and delight when one of her poems results in a life-changing meeting with George Washington. Vivid illustrations accent this window into an exciting era in which Phillis found strength in the face of adversity and became a celebrated poet. Special features include a summary of Phillis’s adult accomplishments, fun facts detailing little-known tidbits of information about her, and a timeline of her life. Middle to Older students.


Mumbet's Declaration of Independence

Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence picture book for older children, discusses slavery and abuse, level 3.4. Everybody knows about the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. But the founders weren’t the only ones who believed that everyone had a right to freedom. Mumbet, a Massachusetts enslaved person, believed it too. She longed to be free, but how? Would anyone help her in her fight for freedom? Could she win against the richest man in town?


Documentaries, Movies, and Videos

Guardians of Jamestown (note: This one has a wizard-sort of guy who can control time travel, but if you can look past that, there is a lot of great info, including about slavery in America). 

Life of a Colonial Slave

Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale, available on multiple platforms including Disney+.  Multiple sensitive viewer warnings as it includes a bear fight, capturing people to be sold as slaves, etc. 

Jamestown – life and labor in the Chesapeake(Part 1)

Jamestown – Bacon’s Rebellion(Part 2)

The West Indies and the Southern Colonies | AP US History | Khan Academy(Part 3)

Museums/Field Trips (including virtual): 

Royall House and Slave Quarters Massachusetts. 


Jester Hairston – The Afro-American Slave Song (1978) | Great History(over 2 hours of a mix of history and songs. Note: It is narrated by an African-American man, but uses some language that might be considered derogatory today). 

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