Georgia Extension: Sojourner Truth (Fanny Kemble)

Georgia Extension: Sojourner Truth

These extensions expand the Self-Evident stories to Georgia. They start with a local case study, then ask students to compare and contrast what they see to the original story in order to draw deeper conclusions about Georgia history.

Standards:

  • SS8H5 Analyze the impact of the Civil War on Georgia.
  • SS8H5.a. Explain the importance of key issues and events that led to the Civil War.

Plan:

  1. Complete the Basic Plan for “The Truth is Powerful”
  2. Transition to your Georgia case study: “As we’ve seen, Sojourner Truth spoke up and spoke out -- but she didn’t have full control over her words. We’re going to look at a story of a woman at around the same time as Truth who spoke out about slavery. Her story will help us look at who tells stories and how that matters. In our new case, we’re going to talk about a white British woman whose Georgian husband enslaved hundreds of Black people and who wrote about slavery in Georgia. Before we even look at her story and words, let’s make some predictions: in what ways do you think somebody like her might be able to be a good source about what slavery in Georgia was like? In what ways might she not be able to know everything or tell the full truth? ” Discuss a few ideas in pairs, small groups, or as a whole class.
  3. Students should learn about Fanny Kemble (Georgia Encyclopedia here; modified article about the historiography here) and, if there is time, read some or all of an excerpt from her diary. As students read, they should be making note of examples where Kemble had things in common with Sojourner Truth and places where she had things in common with Frances Dana Gage.
  4. Explore some or all of the following prompts to connect student research to the bigger issues of the Self Evident video. This could be done through discussion in pairs, small groups, as a whole class, or using a digital discussion board. Students could also do individual informal journal responses or more formal writing.
    • What are important similarities with Sojourner Truth? What are important similarities with Frances Dana Gage?
    • Now that you know more about her (and maybe read her words), in what ways is Kemble in a good position to tell the story of slavery in Georgia? In what ways is she not in a good position to get it right?
    • In what ways do you think Kemble acted justly and in solidarity with enslaved people? In what ways could she have been better?
    • How does learning about a different woman who spoke out against slavery, in part using the voices of Black people, help you understand Sojourner Truth’s story differently?