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Using Historical Footage (Elementary)

Central Question

Gravestone of Venture Smith, Haddam Neck, CT

How do we know Venture Smith’s story?


Help elementary students understand the evidentiary nature of history by investigating a documentary film clip—one that is adapted from the 1998 PBS series Africans in America.

Using the question, "How do we know Venture Smith’s story?" students consider the differences between fiction and history while learning about slave narratives and slavery in the colonies.

Film Clip: The Life of Venture Smith excerpted from Africans in America produced by the WGBH Educational Foundation, 2009 (Duration: 2:33)

Historical Thinking Focus: Fact vs. Fiction, Evidence and Perspective