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Colonization and Emigration
Turner and Garvey Lesson Plan
Henry McNeal Turner and Marcus Garvey both believed African Americans should emigrate away from the United States. But their beliefs and their support were vastly different. Students will read the narrative Colonization and Emigration and study the speeches of these two leaders to understand their philosophical similarities and differences.
Grade Levels:Middle school and high school, grades 8-12
For use with:Colonization and Emigration
Concentration Area:History: U.S. Government
National Curriculum Standards met by this lesson
The standards for this lesson conform to those set by the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel).
Students will understand

  • How the Industrial Revolution, which increased immigration; the rapid expansion of slavery; and westward movement changed American lives and led to regional territories.
  • How slavery shaped social and economic life in the South after 1800 (e.g., how the cotton gin and the opening of new lands in the South and West led to increased demands for slaves; differences in the lives of plantation owners, poor free black and white families, and slaves; methods of passive and active resistance to slavery; escaped slaves and the Underground Railroad).
  • Different economic, cultural, and social characteristics of slavery after 1800 (e.g., the influence of the Haitian Revolution and the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, how slaves forged their own culture in the face of oppression, the role of the plantation system in shaping slaveholders and the enslaved, the experiences of escaped slaves).
  • How slavery influenced economic and social elements of southern society (e.g., how slavery hindered the emergence of capitalist institutions and values, the influence of slavery on the development of the middle class, the influence of slave revolts on the lives of slaves and freed slaves).
  • The social and cultural influence of former slaves in cities of the North (e.g., their leadership of African-American communities, how they advanced the rights and interests of African Americans).
  • Slavery prior to the Civil War (e.g., the importance of slavery as a principal cause of the Civil War, the growing influence of abolitionists, children's roles and family life under slavery).
Time required
Two class periods
Materials needed
Anticipatory Set

  1. Discuss the following questions with the class:

    1. Why would African Americans support emigration from the United States?
    2. What do you think an individual would have to have to convince other African Americans to leave?
    3. Both Turner and Garvey worked for this goal. What did each have that made them successful? Unsuccessful?

  1. Ask students to fill in a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting these two African-American leaders. Once they have finished, have students discuss their findings as a class.
  2. Once students feel they have a fairly complete diagram, have them read and listen to the speeches given by both Turner and Garvey. They can find each speech at the following sites:

    1. Henry McNeal Turner Speech: Http://
    2. Marcus Garvey Speech: (This is an audio file. Students will need to click on Explanation of the Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.)
  3. Ask students to consider these questions:

    1. Were Turner and Garvey powerful orators?
    2. Do the speeches support what students put in their Venn?
    3. What sort of arguments did they use to support their position?
  4. Tell students to review their Venn diagrams and add any new information they gained from studying the speeches.
  5. Then, have students write either a persuasive paper supporting emigration or a rebuttal to the speeches they have heard.

Students should have at minimum, three aspects under each section of the Venn diagram before class participation. The persuasive papers should have at least three points for their arguments, and at least one rebuttal to a common argument from the opposing viewpoint. Use the Rubric provided.

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