Students dig deep into the amazing true story of Adam Crosswhite, a Kentucky fugitive slave who led his entire family to freedom in 1843 and settled in the anti-slavery town of Marshall, Michigan. Students then discover how the Marshall townspeople stood up for their beliefs when slave catchers came to town a few years later looking to return the Crosswhites to bondage. This is an incredible story that more people need to know about. Cases like Adam's led to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and eventually to the American Civil War.
In addition to the engaging case study, I've included two rigorous primary source activities requiring students to analyze the Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850. Both laws are central to Adam's story. I've also included a newspaper headline and story activity that can be used as a summative assessment piece.
Although I teach in Michigan, this lesson can be taught anywhere!