Layer 4

Against the Grain: The Underground Railroad in Central Pennsylvania

County records reveal Central Pennsylvania’s struggle to define its stance towards freedom seekers. Several court cases provide the means to assess mercurial state laws weighed against regional attitudes upholding the constitutional right to slave ownership. You will be introduced to spirited abolitionists willing to stake fortune and reputation in their efforts to protect a vulnerable minority, as well as runaways desperate to prevent being separated from their loved ones, and owners looking to the law to protect their vital investment. Using role playing, we will reenact key events which reached a national audience. Each case is a study in the difficulties of navigating through this polarizing subject.



Essential Questions:

How did slavery divide our nation?
What were the names of the individuals who led the abolitionist movement in the North?
How did the Underground Railroad operate?
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?

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


“Your presentation to our class was both entertaining and informative, and I enjoyed it tremendously. Your historical knowledge constantly astounds me, as you have the ability to speak on a number of diverse topics. The artifacts and remnants that you provide prove most interesting, and the dress up parts of each discussion always leaves my classmates and I in good moods. Whenever our history teacher notifies us of your lessons we jump for joy, not because we can get out of class, but rather because we are excited and enthralled. I anxiously look forward to your next presentation.”
         Scott F.