Racism and the Slave Trade Activity

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					Hull Museum Education



                   Roots of Racism?
              -Racism & the Transatlantic Slave Trade

                             Activity KS3/4
Citizenship KS3 curriculum links:

Unit 3: Human Rights



History KS3 curriculum links:

Unit 15: Black Peoples of America- from slavery to equality?



Citizenship KS4 curriculum links:

Unit 1: Human Rights

Unit 3: Challenging Racism and Discrimination

Unit 4: How and why are laws made?



English KS3/KS4 curriculum links:

En1 Speaking and Listening

En2 Reading




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Hull Museum Education




Objectives

To examine extracts from an 18th Century Plantation Manager’s diary. To
explore the language used by the diarist and the meaning of the extracts in
their historical context.



Overview

This activity will engage students in discussion about the possibility of the roots
of racism being in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Students will view extracts
from the diary of Plantation Manager, Thomas Thistlewood (writing in the
1760s) by film medium. Using discussion sheets, they will examine the attitude
and language used by the diarist towards the slaves on his estate; they will
discuss the historical context of the diaries and finally consider the answer to
the question: Does racism have its roots in the Transatlantic Slave Trade?



Preparation

• Download / project the Thomas Thistlewood film onto white board
• Print out copies of the Discussion Points (below)



Suggested Activity Time

1 hour




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Hull Museum Education


Activity Content

• Split the class into groups

• Hand out the Discussion Points and pens / pencils

• Introduce the film to the class:

                                  Thomas Thistlewood (1721 – 1786) was a Plantation
                                  Manager in Jamaica in the 18th century. His detailed
                                  diaries have become important documents on the slave
                                  trade and history of plantations in Jamaica*.

                                  Notice how Thistlewood talks about the slaves on his
                                  plantation. How does he refer to them? What language
                                  does he use when talking about them?

                                  At the end on the film we are going to consider the
                                  question: Does racism have its roots in the
                                  Transatlantic Slave Trade? – keep this in mind while you
                                  are watching this film.


• Play the film

• Ask the groups to discuss the points outlined below

• Ask groups to feedback, one at a time, to the rest of the class

• Invite the class to answer the question – Does racism have its roots in the
  Transatlantic Slave Trade?




* The original diaries are kept at the Lincolnshire Archives. For more information about
Thomas Thistlewood and his diaries see the BBC website:

www.bbc.co.uk/lincolnshire/content/articles/2007/03/29/thomas_thistlewood_feature.shtml




www.hullcc.gov.uk/museums
Hull Museum Education



                        Roots of Racism?
                 -Racism & the Transatlantic Slave Trade




 Film Discussion Points
 • How does Thomas Thistlewood talk about the slaves on his plantation?

 • What language / phrases / expressions does he use?

 • What does this tell you about his relationship with the slaves?

 • How do these extracts make you feel?

 • Do you think that, in the 1760s, a person hearing this diary entry might feel the same
   way you do? Why? / Why not?

 • What do the diary extracts tell us about the treatment of slaves on 18th century
   plantations in general?

 • Why do you think that Thistlewood had this attitude towards his slaves?

 • What justifications do you think Thistlewood had to act in this way?

 • What generalisations does Thistlewood make about the slaves?

 • What is Thistlewood trying to do by generalising?

 • Do you think that the generalisations Thistlewood makes about the slaves would be
   acceptable today? Why? / Why not?

 • Do you think that racism may have its roots in the Transatlantic Slave Trade?




www.hullcc.gov.uk/museums