Before Reading Follow the Drinking Gourd
Ask students to explain in their own words how much they know about slavery in our history. Use the opportunity to correct any misconceptions about slavery. Use a globe to show the class how slavers sailed from American shores to Africa and back, in order to capture Africans and force them to work on the southern plantations in the States. If possible, show the children a copy of Roots by Alex Haley (G.K. Hall & Co. 1976). Reading excerpts from the book will graphically illustrate to the students how slaves traveled on slave ships, and provide accurate historical information on the issue of slavery in America.
After Reading Follow the Drinking Gourd
Have students study the faces of the runaway slaves as illustrated in the book. Ask students to list all of the feelings they see on the characters' faces. Can the students imagine how they would have felt and what they would have done if they had been enslaved?