The Passage

Lesson Plan

Created by Leslie Marshall.


Africans on a slave ship - Ohio History Connection, Image Number: TAH0863

African American History: 

Analyzing Point of View of Slave Trade 



Lesson duration:

55 minutes

Content Standards:  

  • Students use materials drawn from the diversity of human experience to analyze and interpret significant events, patterns and themes in the history of Ohio, the United States and the world.
  • Explain causes of the Civil War with emphasis on Slavery; 
  • Social Studies Skills and Methods: differentiate between primary and secondary sources. 

Primary Sources used:

Africans on A Slave Ship Engraving from OHS, Image Number: TAH0863
Slave Ship Brooks Engraving from Thomas Clarkson (1808) The History of the Rise, Progress & Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African slave-trade by the British Parliament. OHS Archives/Library. Collection Number: V 326.1 C 561 h 1808 v. 2; Image Number: TAH0855.

Summary of lesson:

This lesson will provide students with two prints to analyze for similarities and differences, as well as to get them thinking about the point of view that each picture might be from and how they can tell.

Instructional steps to implement the lesson:

a. List objective and the question of the day on the projector:  Question of the Day:  If you were a slave trader, how would you “sell” your “product” to someone who hadn’t bought a slave before?
b. Pass out two   per student.  Pair students up based on ability – high to medium and medium to low.  Distribute one copy of “Slave Ship Brooks” print to the high/medium pairs; Pass out “Africans on A Slave Ship” to medium/low pairs.
c. Ask students to work together on one print at a time – using the image analysis worksheet to really look closely at the prints.  Students should use white paper to make the “quadrant” to look at each section of prints.
d. When students finish analyzing and filling out both worksheets, place each print (one at a time) under document reader and walk class through discussion.  Students should be able to point out people, objects of importance, activities, as well as make comparisons and contrasts between the two photos each pair had.    
e. Using the  , we should be able to have a good foundation of differences and similarities that are shown in each picture.  (boats, people – major characters, minor characters, background, body positions, clothing, etc.)  
f. Students will then answer the  about their picture. 

Important Points: 

Students should realize how awful the conditions were for slaves who had to travel in boats.  They should be able to see slaves as “people” like themselves – who shouldn’t have been treated the way they were.  They should be able to see how engravings like this would influence certain groups of people.