Introduce the interactive timeline by dispelling the common beliefs that the enslavement of Blacks was a uniquely Southern institution, that it existed solely on plantations, and that it existed, more or less, in a constant state. The face of slavery was ever-changing. It existed in the North as well as in the South. After the Revolutionary War, White people in many of the colonies began to realize slavery was immoral and unjust, and took action to abolish it, but they did it on their own time and to support their own agendas. To gain background for this discussion, read “Slavery in British North America.”

Divide students into groups and have them research slavery in the colonies. Assign each student a colony not included in the interactive timeline (Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, or Rhode Island). Have them pinpoint key events that reveal that colony’s stance on slavery, noting their dates and writing a paragraph to describe them. To gain information for the activity, direct students to the sources in the Explore More tab, and encourage them to locate additional sources on their own.