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in the Shenandoah Valley
- Creative writing
- Write a report from a London journalist having completed her
investigation on slavery in the Valley of Virginia. Her
report could include the following: 1. basic statistics on
slave ownership, 2. relationship between masters and
slaves, as depicted in the Augusta newspapers, 3. economic
activity most slaves performed.
- Traditional essay questions
- Even though only a small percentage of Augusta families
owned slaves, slave holders and slave holders' interests
dominated the county. Assess the validity of this statement.
- Slave holders defended slavery on the grounds that it was a
fundamentally humane institution. How did they make the case that it was
humane, and to what extent do you think they actually believed what
they said and wrote?
Use this class period to search the Valley of the Shadow
archives, take notes, and write a basic outline for
After you have shared your findings with the other teams in your
group, edit your outline as you feel is necessary.
Your assignment for tonight is to turn your notes into a draft of a
- Search the slave
owner census (in Part I: The Eve of the War, Public
Records, Census). How many people owned over 50 slaves? over 20? over
10? (after you get to the results of your search, scroll
down to the end for "statistics for this search" and "statistics
for all records."). Note: The total white population of
Augusta County was 21,547.
- Use the population
census and the
census (in Part I:The Eve of the War, Public Records) to find out more
about certain slave holders of interest to you. What did they produce?
What was their age? Were there any large slave owners who
were not farmers? Did they tend to have large
- Use the newspaper
search page (in Part I: The Eve of
the War, Newspapers) to search the two Augusta newspapers for the last
names of the largest slave holders. Once you get your list of dates,
click the date to find the abstracts, and use your browser's
"find" function to find the word you had searched by. Did
these men play a large role in the politics and civic activity
of their communities?
- Read relevant
transcribed articles from Augusta County newspapers on African Americans
and Race Relations and transcribed articles from Augusta County newspapers on slavery and politics.
- Use the newspaper
search page to search
the Staunton Spectator and Republican Vindicator for the words "slave,"
"slaves," "negro," "negroes," "black," "abolition," "abolitionist,"
"insurrection," and any other words you think might be helpful. Once you get your list of dates,
click the date to find the abstracts, and use your browser's "find"
function to find the word you had searched by.
- Examine the
Free Black Registries of Augusta
County and Staunton (in Part I: The War Years, Public Records). By
what criteria were they defined as free? How common was voluntary
emancipation? What else can you learn about emancipation
from this document?
- Read the following letters from the McCue collection (in Part I:
The Eve of the War, Letters and Diaries).From Travis E. Luckett to JH McCue, JH McCue to Mary Carrington, EH Wills to JH McCue, JG Coleman to JH McCue.