To Be Free, by Smithsonian Institution, came along just in the nick of time. We are currently studying the Civil War and this app has been a huge help in teaching students the real deal about slavery. This was a tumultuous time in history and this app is perfect for helping kids understand this era from a slave’s perspective, while simultaneously helping them understand the big picture of the Civil War. This app is an eye opener into, not just facts and figures, but real lives. The teachers learn right along with the students with To Be Free, which is the way it should be. Remember, make no assumptions about kids having prior knowledge on any subject. When discussing why it was difficult for slaves to adjust to their new found freedom, one student said, “The language, they didn’t speak English.” Whoa – talk about preconceived notions! Another interesting dynamic was explaining why slaves had such different experiences, depending on who owned them. And the fact that slaves in Texas didn’t even know the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect until several years later is a great example of how far our modes of communication have come. To Be Free is an exquisite app, as it turns kids on to learning a part of history that we all should be more aware of!
Use Changing America: To Be Free to go beyond the well-known stories of Emancipation and gain insight into this profound moment in the lives of so many different people. You can search, sort and read personal responses to the Emancipation Proclamation across the north, south and border states from men and women of all ages. It explores their historical context, their accomplishments and limitations, and their impact on the generations that followed.
*The exhibition will be on view from December 14, 2012 through September 15, 2013 in the National Museum of African American History and Culture Gallery at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
In the midst of the Civil War President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive decision that freed slaves in the rebel states on January 1, 1863. While the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all of the enslaved, it affected people across the country–men, women, young, old, enslaved and free.