Your Legacy

I think educators need to have a coming together around how we teach enslavement in elementary school. Our textbook curriculum. If your curriculum mentions enslavement it likely only mentions the Triangular Slave Trade. This is a detail that it seems we like to fixate on- other cultures had slaves. If that sounds like your curriculum, then you need to rethink what you're teaching. This beautiful picture book is a good place to start. It begins the discussion with historical truths about the resiliency, intellect, perseverance and compassion of the African people. This book is what we all wish had been read to us as children to introduce our nation’s painful history.

Social Justice Activities:

  • Language matters: I avoid the word, “slaves” and use, “enslaved.” I also am conscious not to say, “we,” when talking about the Colonists- they were Early Americans, White Settlers, European Colonists, Enslavers…

  • Before teaching about enslavement, humanize peoples from different African countries so students have an understanding that there are many different countries within the African continent, that there is beauty to learn within their diverse cultures, histories and languages and that there are current issues facing different communities that we should know about.

  • Review the Zinn Education Project for resources.

  • Watch the author's summary below.

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Justice 13. Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today.

Justice 14. Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.

Justice 15. Students will identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.

Reading Strategies:

Author's Craft: Evaluate why the author chose to write this book. Why is this book needed?

Main Ideas: Analyze the main ideas on each page. Ask students what they already know about those ideas and evaluate why it is that they likely do not know much. Choose concepts to research and co-create knowledge about.

Book Details:
  • Non-Fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: People of African Descent
  • Author's stated heritage: African American
  • Subject Integration: History, Geography, Social Emotional Learning

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain