Georgia US History 11 Connection: Benjamin Banneker

Georgia US History 11 Connection: Benjamin Banneker

These connections take Self-Evident videos and explicitly connect them to Georgia US History standards. An optional extension article is included to further set the video in larger context. For other lessons that dive deeper into the historical context or original story, check out the Self-Evident curriculum library.

Standard: SSUSH6 Analyze the challenges faced by the first five presidents and how they responded.

US History Basic Connection:

  1. Complete the Basic Plan for “I Got A Letter From the Government”
  2. Transition to the standard: “The exchange between Banneker and Jefferson helps us see that the question of slavery was a challenge for even the earliest American presidents.”
  3. Ask students to write about or discuss in pairs, small groups, or as a class: “What does the exchange between Benjamin Banneker and Thomas Jefferson illustrate about the challenges slavery posed for early American presidents and leaders?”

Optional US History Larger Context:

  1. Set a purpose for reading: “To understand the bigger picture of Banneker’s story, we’re going to read a short article about slavery and the Constitution. As you read, think about how this helps you understand how slavery was a challenging political issue.”
  2. Have students read “Historical Context: The Constitution and Slavery” from Newsela, also available in Spanish and at varied reading levels.
  3. Ask students to write about or discuss in pairs, small groups, or as a class some or all of the following:
    • How does the new information in this article help us understand Banneker’s story better?
    • How does the information in the article help us understand how slavery was a challenging issue for America’s early leaders to navigate?
    • Why do you think that the Founding Fathers and early presidents, including those who opposed slavery, chose to compromise rather than fight for the abolition of slavery?

Optional US History: Primary Source

  1. Set a purpose for reading: “Thomas Jefferson wrote about slavery in other places, which will help us understand both his views and also how slavery was a challenging issue for the new nation to navigate.”
  2. Have students read “Jefferson's Notes on Slavery” from Newsela, available at varied reading levels.
  3. Ask students to write about or discuss in pairs, small groups, or as a class some or all of the following:
    1. What does Jefferson say about slavery? About Black people? How does this compare to what he said to Banneker?
    2. Based on this source, why is the existence of slavery a challenge for the new nation?
    3. How does reading Jefferson’s words in a different context shift how you understand his interaction with Banneker?