This resource is a Document-Based Activity using primary sources from the Reconstruction Period. It focuses on the Freedmen's Bureau. It is READY-TO-GO -- Just download and print out or share on a password-protected class webpage!
Students start by reading the instructions which include a very brief, but informative introduction to the Freedmen's Bureau and a list of its responsibilities. Next, they analyze ten documents from the time period. The first five documents are the Senate Act to extend the Freedmen's Bureau, a letter from a freedman, a Freedmen's Bureau agent's report, a land order, and a teacher's report. The last five documents are drawings from a weekly newspaper of the time. Each of the documents is followed by three to five questions to guide a student's analysis of the primary sources. I have included typed excerpts from some of the written documents to help students understand what is written in cursive.
After analyzing the documents, students will complete a follow-up writing assignment which is outlined in the activity. This will give students a better understanding of what life was like for freedmen during Reconstruction. It also includes a link to a short online activity related to the effectiveness of the Freedmen's Bureau.
My students (8th graders) love this activity and are amazed to see the old letters and such! They say it really helps them have a better appreciation for what the freedmen dealt with during Reconstruction. I'm always impressed with the writing they do after analyzing the documents!
The resource is FULLY EDITABLE for YOUR CLASSROOM ONLY. Although not necessary in order to use the resource, this gives you the ability to make a simple change/addition to fine tune it specifically for YOUR students! However, you may not alter it to sell or offer as a free resource.
I hope you enjoy this primary source activity!
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