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Activity Overview

Timelines are a helpful tool for students to see the sequence of events and the cause and effect during a specific time period in history. Giving students a visual with each date and name of the event helps students to better understand and remember the details, importance, and impact of the event. In this activity, students will create a timeline of 5-10 events that were integral in the creation, continuance, and abolition of slavery. This timeline will use visuals and concise text to describe in order the major events and laws that were important to the history of the institution of slavery; why it lasted as long as it did and how it eventually came to an end.

For an alternative to the timeline layout, have students create a timeline poster to incorporate into a presentation or gallery walk. You can add more than one template to this assignment to give students lots of options, and update the instructions accordingly.

Important events relating to Slavery in America

  • 1619 - First enslaved Africans brought to Jamestown Virginia.
  • 1641 - Massachusetts Bay Colony makes slavery legal.
  • 1662 - Virginia law states that the status of the mother determined if a black child would be enslaved.
  • 1676 - Bacon’s Rebellion
  • 1688 - Pennsylvania Quakers adopt the first formal anti-slavery resolution.
  • 1705 - Virginia Slave Codes
  • 1712 - Slave Revolt in New York City
  • 1775 - The American Revolution begins.
  • 1775 - Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery founded.
  • 1800 - Gabriel’s Rebellion
  • 1820 - Missouri Compromise approved by Congress.
  • 1831 - Nat Turner’s Rebellion
  • 1839 - Amistad Rebellion
  • Compromise of 1850
  • 1852 - Publishing and Impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • 1854 - Kansas Nebraska Act
  • 1857 - Dred Scott Supreme Court Case
  • 1863 - 54th Regiment attack on Fort Wagner
  • 1863 Emancipation Proclamation
  • 1861-1865 - U.S. Civil War
  • 1865 - Civil War ends but it is the 13th Amendment to the constitution that officially ends slavery.
Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 3-6

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Timelines

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/WHST/6-8/2/B] Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a timeline of major events and laws that were passed that were important to the history of slavery in America.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the description boxes, write:
  3. Create an illustration for each cell using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Save and submit your storyboard.

Requirements: Include at least five events, including dates and descriptions.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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