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John Brown & Harpers Ferry, Grades 6-8

Lessons, Resources, and Activities Explore an Important Event Leading to the American Civil War

Found In: language arts & literature, social studies, 6-8

Lesson Plans & Activities

Lesson Plans

This Guilty Land
Students in grades 6-8 examine the territorial period in Kansas history and recognize John Brown as a supporter of the free-state cause.

Dear Wife & Children Every One
Students in grades 7-8 examine one aspect of John Brown’s life using a primary source.

Bring a Painting To Life
Students in grades 6-12 write and perform monologues and dialogues based on the painting “The Last Moments of John Brown.”

Will the Real John Brown Please Stand Up!
Students in grades 6-12 explore, through discussion and writing activities, various perspectives of John Brown's character and actions as expressed through paintings, period newspaper articles, and quotes by contemporaries.

Incident at Harpers Ferry: Slavery and John Brown
Students (6-8) consider slavery from pro-slavery and abolitionist viewpoints. They examine John Brown's activities in Kansas from 1855 to 1857.


Background Resources

Slavery and the Making of America
History, maps, narratives and biographies, and teacher resources.

Territorial Kansas Online
Explore the turbulent times of "Bleeding Kansas."

Thoreau - On John Brown
“A Plea for Captain John Brown,” a lecture read in November 1859.

Frederick Douglass on John Brown
Though Douglass and Brown had been friends for 11 years, Douglass refused to join Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. Douglass wrote this lecture in 1860 as a tribute.

John Brown
People, stories, and images associated with Harpers Ferry and John Brown.

John Brown’s Harpers Ferry Raid
Articles, maps, images, and lesson plans.

John Brown Trial (1859)
Includes the trial report and testimony, Brown’s interview and address to the court, Lee’s report, Senate report, and more.

The Portent: John Brown's Raid in American Memory
The Virginia Historical Society website on the 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?
Resources and teaching unit.



last updated: October 7, 2019


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