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Freedom Fighters, Freedom Writers: Civil War Letters from Men in the USCT

Sherri Mehta, Ph.D.
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(73)
In this two-day course, students will read letters written by African American men who served in the USCT during the Civil War, learn about letter writing in the nineteenth century, and write a letter in the same style.

Class experience

US Grade 9 - 11
Students will increase their understanding of the role African American men played in the Civil War through analysis of their letters.  Students will learn about nineteenth-century epistolary (letter-writing) standards and conventions used by men in the USCT.  Students will broaden their writing skills using nineteenth-century letter writing standards to scribe a soldier's letter.
This course is a fun and engaging way to explore a topic that is often rushed through in literature courses.  The natural progression of nineteenth-century literature and history should include study and analysis of one of the most critical moments in our nation's history.  I hold a Ph.D. in English Literature and Language with a specialization in Nineteenth-Century African American and American Literature, Epistolary Theory, and African American Epistolary Literature.  Additionally, my area of research and scholarship centered on letters written from African American soldiers who served in the USCT.  In 2017, I transcribed twenty-one letters written by Pvt. Alonzo Reed of the 102nd Michigan USCT and submitted those transcriptions to Duke University's David Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where the original letters are housed.  I have published articles on this topic in peer-reviewed journals and books, and have presented at conferences, workshops, museums, and educational institutions.  My personal connection to the topic and my cross-curricular approach makes this a unique course and learning experience.  My third great-grandfather escaped a Virginia plantation and joined the 29th Illinois USCT.  Using archival and genealogical resources, I was able to learn more about family, state, and national history.  Freedom Fighters, Freedom Writers offers this same opportunity for young learners.  For each soldier's letter analyzed, I try to create a more complete picture of the individual in an attempt to bridge the gaps of space and time by turning an abstract soldier into a named, real person. 
Students will receive letters and images for the soldiers discussed in class.  Students do not need to purchase any materials for this class.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
This course studies African American service in the Civil War.  This course will discuss slavery, emancipation, and war.  This course looks at the historical connection between these three topics from a literary and epistolary lens.
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(73)
Hello!  My name is Sherri Mehta, but my students affectionately call me Dr. M.  I am a Maryland-based researcher, presenter, homeschooling mom, and wife with over twenty years of English teaching experience .  I hold both a Ph.D. and an M.A. in... 
Group Class


for 2 classes
1x per week, 2 weeks
65 min

Completed by 20 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 14-18
4-8 learners per class

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