The Hamilton Education Program helps students see the relevance of the founding era by using primary sources to create a performance piece, following the model used by Lin-Manuel Miranda to create the musical Hamilton. Below, watch a selection of student performers from across the country share their pieces on Black lives and topics of the founding era.
"PROMINENT AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS"
A powerful spoken word piece from the perspectives of Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, and Paul Cuffe
A rap/poem about Richard Allen, one of the country's most prominent Black leaders
"WROTE MY WAY OUT"
A poem about the challenges of the Revolutionary War
A song about African American poet Phillis Wheatley
"THE VOICE OF THE DISCHARGED MUSKET"
A spoken word piece from the perspective of the musket used to kill Crispus Atticus at the Boston Massacre
A song/rap about African American businessman and abolitionist Paul Cuffe
"BILL OF RIGHTS SLAVE MONOLOGUE"
A dramatic piece from the perspective of an enslaved person responding to the Bill of Rights
"LONGIN' FOR HOME"
A song/spoken word piece about abolitionist and writer Olaudah Equiano
A spoken word piece about slavery
A song about Black American Benjamin Banneker, who is known for his work in science, mathematics, and astronomy
We also invite you to view two powerful recordings of Hamilton cast members adding their voices to founding era documents.
"THE PETITION OF A GREAT NUMBER OF NEGROES WHO ARE DETAINED IN A STATE OF SLAVERY," 1777
Renee Elise Goldsberry is joined by several other women from the cast of the musical Hamilton in a powerful rendering of "The Petition of a Great Number of Negroes Who Are Detained in a State of Slavery." The origins of the civil rights movement can be traced to this petition, the first to claim equal rights for Black people. This document is included in our new publication, Slavery and Abolition in the Founding Era.
For more information, click here.
LETTER FROM BENJAMIN BANNEKER TO THOMAS JEFFERSON
Cast member Christopher Jackson reads aloud from Federal Hall in New York City a letter from Benjamin Banneker to Thomas Jefferson. Banneker, a self-taught scientist and mathematician, eloquently points out the hypocrisy of the writer of the Declaration of Independence continuing to countenance slavery in America.