Using Music to Teach Abolitionist History

The four lessons below, designed for middle- to high-school classrooms, allow students to explore four moments in U.S. abolitionism through songs and lyrics.

Lesson 1: Testimony to the Horrors of Slavery: “Sold and Gone”

Lesson 2: Protest as Citizenship: Rewriting “My Country ’tis of Thee”

Lesson 3: Uncle Tom’s Cabin Depicts a Dramatic Escape from Slavery: “Eliza’s Flight

Lesson 4: The Turn to Electoral Politics: The Liberty Party and the Election of 1844

The Dutchess Antislavery Singers recorded performances of seven abolitionist songs, including those discussed above, and these are available on YouTube for classroom use.

MHAHP wishes to thank the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection at The Johns Hopkins University Library for permission to use its online resources.

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