Investigations

Investigations were developed for the Georgia Virtual History Project by Dr. Jenn James and T.J. Kopcha at the University of Georgia; the ideas for the investigation were conceptualized by student in Dr. James' methods courses. 

Introduction

YouTube Video



Inquiry Question
What sort of relationship did slaves and slave owners share in the Deep South in the period leading up to the Civil War?

Group Work: Part One

Work in small groups to learn more about the inquiry through several primary source documents. Read the paragraph below for your group, then follow the link to the primary sources for your group.

Each group will complete the Investigative Questions (see files attached below) associated with their group. 

Group 1Mary Anne Cobb's Letter

Long ago, written letters were individuals’ only way of long distance communication. There were no cell phones, no computers, and no Internet! Written letters, though they took longer to get from place to place, helped make people feel connected to one another and to what was going on at home while they were away. These written pieces of correspondence were one way that slave-owners were able to manage the business of their homes from a distance. Slave owners could give slaves “orders” and duties they need to do before their owners arrived home.

Complete: Investigative Questions 1 (attached at the bottom of this page)

Group 2 - Aggy's Letter

Long ago, written letters were individuals’ only way of long distance communication. There were no cell phones, no computers, and no Internet! Written letters, though they took longer to get from place to place, helped make people feel connected to one another and to what was going on at home while they were away. These written pieces of correspondence were one way that slave-owners were able to manage the business of their homes from a distance. Slave owners could give slaves “orders” and duties they need to do before their owners arrived home.

Complete: Investigative Questions 2 (attached at the bottom of this page)

Group 3 - Aggy's Bill of Sale

A bill of sale is like a receipt. It was written and exchanged when people engaged in a private slave trade. Aggy’s bill of sale is a slave trade receipt.
Beginning in 1838, the Cobb family suffered great economic calamity. Despite the fact that Aggy was a beloved member of the household, she was still a possession that could be bought and sold like household furniture, clothing, and other goods. So in the year of 1842, Aggy was put for sale to help pay off her master’s debts.

Complete: Investigative Questions 3 (attached at the bottom of this page)

Group 4 - Photographs of Slavery

Pictures from the past can we useful tools for deepening our understanding of historical events and relationships. The first photograph is of Aggy and the second of a Mississippi slave. Take time to view the photos and think about what each slave’s relationship with their slave owner was like. 

Complete: Investigative Questions 1 (attached at the bottom of this page)


Group Work: Part Two 

Your teacher will now put you into new groups. Your new group will contain one person from each of the four groups above, so that there is an “expert” on each of the four primary documents.

Members of your new group should share what they learned about their artifacts and work together to answer the inquiry question: What was the nature of relationships between slaves and slave owners in the Deep South leading up to the Civil War? As you answer this question, be sure to use evidence from each of the four primary documents that you explored earlier.


Share
Now share your response with the rest of your class. What was the same? What was different? What questions do you still have?

Extension Activities
If you finish early or just want to learn more, try out these extension activities.

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Investigative Questions 1
(82k)
TJ Kopcha,
Apr 15, 2013, 7:13 AM
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Investigative Questions 2
(81k)
TJ Kopcha,
Apr 15, 2013, 7:13 AM
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Investigative Questions 3
(79k)
TJ Kopcha,
Apr 15, 2013, 7:13 AM
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Investigative Questions 4
(83k)
TJ Kopcha,
Apr 15, 2013, 7:13 AM
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