Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminars provide high-caliber professional development for K–12 teachers, featuring leading American history professors and deep dives into primary sources. Covering 21 different topics, each online seminar offered 12–15 hours of pre-recorded video lectures and opportunities to attend dozens of live Q&As with historians and pedagogy sessions with Gilder Lehrman Master Teachers on Zoom. In summer 2021, two seminars were solely devoted to the study and understanding of Black Lives in the Founding Era.
In Lives of the Enslaved, Professor Daina Ramey Berry focused on the experiences of enslaved people, and examined the ways in which human beings coped with captivity. Although the early literature objectified enslaved people and hardly paid attention to their experiences, work published since the Civil Rights Movement and into the twenty-first century offers rich accounts of enslaved life. By approaching the institution of slavery in the United States from the enslaved perspective through firsthand accounts of their experiences, participants had the opportunity to engage a variety of sources, including narratives, plantation records, podcasts, short films, and other media. Some of the specific themes addressed include gender, sexuality, region, labor, resistance, pleasure, love, family, and community among the enslaved. A preview of one of these seminar lectures can be viewed below.
In Black Lives in the Founding Era, Professor James Basker and a number of guest speakers restored to view the lives and writings of a wide array of African Americans in the period 1760 to 1800. Drawing on rare and long-forgotten texts, the seminar focused on prominent individuals such as Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, Jupiter Hammon, Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, Prince Hall, and James Forten, along with others who lived more ordinary lives—Black soldiers, formerly enslaved people petitioning the government, women both enslaved and free, religious and civic leaders, and writers of early slave narratives. Ultimately the seminar aimed to make visible the contributions and collective experience of African Americans in the founding era. A preview of one of these seminar lectures can be viewed below.
In addition to these two dedicated seminars, there were individual lectures from other Teacher Seminars that related to the topic of Black Lives in the Founding Era. Previews of these seminar lectures can be viewed below.
Teacher Seminars are open exclusively to participants in the Institute’s free Affiliate School Program.