Layer 4

What Were They Thinking? Slavery in Cumberland County

In terms of slavery, from the time that William Penn set precedent as a prosperous slave holder in the 17th century to the vital role of Philadelphia Quakers as leaders of the abolition movement in the 18th and 19th centuries, Pennsylvania underwent a dramatic transformation. Our state’s quest to rid itself of the institution led to manumission laws which gradually eliminated human bondage. Cumberland County is unique in that it was the only area that saw an increase of slave holdings after manumission. Economics, cultural attitudes, labor relations, taxation, immigration, racial relationships, and social status each played a part. Primary documents present an opportunity to explore life during Pennsylvania’s slave holding decades.  We will also explain uplifting ways in which an enslaved people enriched and defined American culture.



Essential Question:

How did slavery develop in the colonies and affect Colonial Life?
What can I learn from the past?
How am I connected to people and events from the past?
How did the decades of the 20th century change and shape American culture?
What causes change, and what stays the same?
What patterns develop in the course of history?
How are cause and effect shown throughout history?
How do historical and social events shape the future?
What conflicts took place in the 20th century and why are they important?
How is history interpreted to relate the past to the present?
How do the concepts of family, education, leisure, government, economics, religion, and communication define a culture?

History Standards:   8.1 A,B,C,D    8.2.3 A,B,C   8.2.6 A,B,C,D    8.2.9 A, B,C,D 8.3.3 A,B,C   8.3.6 A  8.3.9 A,C,D   8.4.6 A,C   8.4.12 A,B,C,D   

Reading Standards: 1.1.5.A,G 1.2.A 1.3.A,F 1.6.A,B,D,E


“I wish we could have had more time to learn from you because I am sure we all could have learned so much more.”
         Melissa D.