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        African-American Troops, Activity | Ken Burns: The Civil War

        This activity helps students understand the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on changing the nature of the war, as well as how that change was manifested in the entry of African-Americans to the Union cause. In this activity, students view a video clip from "The Civil War" on the formation of African-American regiments, particularly the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, explaining the difficulty African-American soldiers faced in being accepted as equals and how their bravery brought a modicum of acceptance, albeit reluctantly, by white soldiers. Students also analyze the final letter by Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the regiment, to his wife the day before the Union assault on Battery Wagner. Student questions provided here can be used for general class discussion or individual assessment. Answers to the questions are included. 

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