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Coastal Heritage Curriculum Connection

Explore Curriculum Connection guides, which are written to accompany each issue of Coastal Heritage, a quarterly publication of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Coastal Heritage, Winter 2008 issue: Breaking the Chains: The End of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Focus Questions

  • Which countries and geographic regions were involved in the transatlantic slave trade? How did the slave trade affect each of these areas?
  • What challenges did abolitionists overcome in their effort to end the transatlantic slave trade? How or why did they eventually succeed?
  • Why do you think the institution of slavery continued even after slave trading was ruled illegal in Britain and America between 1807 and 1808?

Use the Curriculum Connection to address these South Carolina Standards

3rd grade: Social Studies 3-2.7
Explain the transfer of the institution of slavery into South Carolina from the West Indies, including the slave trade and the role of African Americans in the developing plantation economy; the daily lives of African American slaves and their contributions to South Carolina, such as the Gullah culture and the introduction of new foods; and the African American acts of resistance against white authority.

4th grade: Social Studies 4-2.5
Summarize the introduction and establishment of slavery in the American colonies, including the role of the slave trade; the nature of the Middle Passage; and the types of goods—rice, indigo, sugar, tobacco, and rum, for example—that were exchanged among the West Indies, Europe, and the Americas.

7th grade: Social Studies 7-1.4
Summarize the characteristics of European colonial power and explain its effects on the society and culture of African nations, including instances of participation in and resistance to the slave trade.

8th grade: Social Studies 8-1.4
Explain the growth of the African American population during the colonial period and the significance of African Americans in the developing culture (e.g., Gullah) and economy of South Carolina, including the origins of African American slaves, the growth of the slave trade, the impact of population imbalance between African and European Americans and the Stono Rebellion and subsequent laws to control the slave population.

9th – 12th: Math (Algebra) EA-2.7
Carry out a procedure (including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division by a
monomial) to simplify polynomial expressions.

Lesson Links

The Transatlantic Slave Trade: The Route and the People

The route of the Transatlantic Slave Trade triangle involved a variety countries and people. Discuss the route of the transatlantic slave trade using the map found at . Follow this exercise by using the lesson which highlights the different roles of the people involved: the captain of the ship, the African and colonial slave traders and the enslaved Africans. (6th – 12th)

Understanding the Numbers: Millions of Lives Impacted

Millions of African lives were changed because of the economic impact of slavery. The quantitative activity below allows students to place, in perspective, the word “million” and understand the magnitude of African lives impacted. (6th – 12th)

Sugar: The Engine of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Sugar was the most lucrative crop that used enslaved African labor. 4% of the slaves shipped on the transatlantic route were brought to North America, while more than 66% were brought to the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations. Read the article, Sugar and Slavery: Molasses to Rum to Slaves by Jean M. West found at and then follow with the lesson plan found at to understand the impact of the sugar production. (9th – 12th)

Capturing the Past – Oral History

Do you know someone of Gullah or Geechee descent? The preservation of the stories, facts and reflections is crucial to understanding the past. Develop your skills at recording oral history by visiting and be a key player in capturing this cultural gem for the future! (3rd – 12th)

Literature Connections

In 1789, former slave, Olaudah Equiano, published his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equinao, or Gustavus Vassa, the Africa, which describes life before, during and after slavery. The complete autobiography can be downloaded from .

Field Trip Opportunities

All locations listed below address an aspect of African American history. Throughout South Carolina, a variety of opportunities exist to learn about the impact of slavery within the state.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center (Charleston County)

Drayton Hall (Charleston County)

Slave Relic Museum (Colleton County)

The State Museum (Richland County)

Beaufort Museum (Beaufort County)

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site (Charleston County)

Old Slave Mart Museum (Charleston County)

Penn Center (Beaufort County)

Mays House Museum (Greenwood County)

Greenville Cultural Exchange Center (Greenville County)

Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture (Charleston County)