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FEBRUARY 1, 2011


"My Escape from Slavery"

Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838. Years later, in 1881, he published an account of his journey from his masters' home in Maryland to his freedom in New Bedford, Massachutsetts. In these excerpts, Douglass describes his fear during his daring escape, his joy when he realized his freedom, and his sorrow at the hardships still to come.

Primary Source of the Month

Caulker's Tool Chest, late 19th century. The Library at the Mariners' Museum.
Caulker's Tool Chest, late 19th century. The Library at the Mariners' Museum.

Frederick Douglass was trained as a caulker, a dockworker whose job it was to use waterproof materials to stop up the cracks between the planks of boats so they didn't leak. This caulker's tool chest is filled with the tools of the caulking trade and is similar to the one Frederick Douglass may have used.

Freedom Bound EFT
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is Freedom Bound
February 10, 2011

New! Downloadable American History
Lesson Plans from ABC-CLIO
and Colonial Williamsburg

Teaching News

Storm on the Horizon

Storm on the Horizon: February 18–19

The Chautauqua Institution, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture present Storm on the Horizon: Slavery, Disunion, and the Roots of the Civil War, a two-day conference focusing on the Civil War's roots in the American Revolution. Speakers include Pulitzer Prizewinner Gordon S. Wood, Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University, and Alan Brinkley, Allan Nevins Professor of American History at Columbia University. Can't make it to Williamsburg? No problem. The Wood and Brinkley lectures will be available free via online streaming.

February Podcasts
February Podcasts
02/07: Freedom Bound
02/07: Two Sites, One Story (vodcast)
02/14: African American Folk Art
02/21: Confluence of Cultures
02/28: Nation Builder

The Idea of America
The Idea of America
A digital American history program that inspires and prepares high school students for active citizenship, developed by Colonial Williamsburg and distributed by Pearson Education.


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2010–2011 Electronic Field Trip Scholarships


Teaching Strategy: Frederick Douglass' Escape from Slavery Storyboard

In his lifetime, Frederick Douglass knew hardships of slavery, but he also knew the prestige of being a well-known speaker, author and presidential adviser. His journey between these two is an eventful one. Students will read excerpts from one of Frederick Douglass' autobiographies, "My Escape from Slavery," and complete storyboard panels detailing this section of Douglass' life. They will then conduct a gallery walk to view their classmates' work and put together the complete narrative.

Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Resources for Your Classroom

2011–2012 Teaching Resources Catalog

Check out our special offers for Black History Month!

Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality instructional materials about American history topics, including:

  • Caeser's Story: 1754(hardcover book)
  • Slave's Bag (Hands-on History Kit)
  • Slavery: A Colonial Odyssey (Lesson Unit)

Kids Zone: History, Games & Fun
Games, activities, and resources about life in colonial America.

2010 Distance Learning Award
21st Century Award
for Best Practices in Distance Learning, preK–12
United States Distance Learning Association, 2010

Quotation of the Month

"The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in everything. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm."

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Ch. 7.

The Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip Series is supported in part
by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

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