Students watch a video about Alexander Clark and other early abolitionists in Iowa. They learn what “abolitionist” means, and about groups that supported the abolishment of slavery. Students design flyers advertising an Abolitionist Rally that include arguments against slavery in Iowa.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa Unit 9 | Activities for Grades 8–12". This unit is comprised of activities for 8th grade and high school students. In this unit, students will explore the environmental, historical, and political factors that characterize the state of Iowa.
SS.8.9: Present original arguments based on credible sources using a variety of media to authentic audiences.
H.SS.8.22: Explain how and why prevailing social, cultural, and political perspectives changed during early American history.
- Video: Alexander Clark and Early Abolitionists in Iowa
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of Early Abolitionists handout
- Blank paper or poster board
- Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
- Computers, tablets, or other research materials (optional)
- Tell students they will be learning about “abolitionists.” Abolitionists are people who fight against a practice that they believe should be “abolished,” or removed. In this video, the abolitionists are fighting to have slavery abolished. The Quakers are a religion originally known as “The Society of Friends.” Quakers were abolitionist because they believed that all people were equal. Another religion discussed in the video is Congregationalism, whose members had a passion for freedom, equality, and justice.
- Distribute the Early Abolitionists handout to students. Instruct students take notes on famous abolitionists and noteworthy events as the video is played.
- Play the video, Alexander Clark and Early Abolitionists in Iowa. [1:50]
- Have students answer questions on the handout.
- Have students design flyers advertising an Abolitionist Rally. The flyers should portray arguments against slavery in Iowa. If needed, allow students to conduct extra research to support their flyers’ claims.
- It provoked a debate over slavery
- Iowa bordered Missouri, which was a slave state, and the Northern free states
- Quakers, Congregationalists, settlers from the northeast, and African Americans
- Raid on Harpers Ferry arsenal