Sharecropping during Reconstruction: Was life fair or unfair for the freedmen?
This lesson is included as part of the American Reconstruction Unit Plan, located here:
American Reconstruction Unit Plan!
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In this very engaging and Common Core focused activity, student legal teams analyze a typical sharecropping contract that was offered during Reconstruction to determine its fairness - or unfairness - then advise their client on how to proceed!
Since most freedmen had no access to education, the vast majority were unable to read or write. Therefore, former masters offered sharecropping contracts to the recently emancipated slaves that attempted to keep them on their land under very unfavorable terms. These "sharecroppers" were often forced into situations that were very similar to their life under slavery.
In this activity, student teams analyze a sharecropping contract, then give advice on what a freedman should do! What should he or she know about this contract before it is signed? Then, students produce a briefing report that outlines their view of the contract!
This activity is differentiated to be used in either student legal team groups or as individual lawyers!
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