John Brown and Timbuctoo
Educator Resources

This web page contains sample lesson plans, links to external web resources, and lists of recommended articles and books that will be beneficial to high school teachers as they design instructional activities for classroom use.

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Materials for Teacher Reference

Lesson Plans

These are suggestions on how teachers can use this web site in their classrooms:

Visit the images page of this web site, and have your students compare and contrast the images of the John Brown Farm State Historic Site. Questions you can ask your students include, how has the John Brown Farm changed in the past 150 years, how has it stayed the same?

Visit the video page of this web site, have your students watch the video clips, and think about the significance of the John Brown Farm State Historic Site and the Timbuctoo community to US history.  Also, have your students consider, why is the John Brown Farm State Historic Site facing foreclosure?  What will not just the people of New York, but also the people of the United States lose if the John Brown Farm State Historic Site shuts down?

Visit the audio page of this web site, and have your students listen to John Stauffer's lecture "Timbuctoo and the Origins of an Integrated America." Instruct your students to take notes during the lecture, and pay special attention to the roles Gerrit Smith, John Brown, Frederick Douglas, and James McCune Smith played in developing Timbuctoo. For enrichment, have your students read Stauffer's book The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race.

Other relevant lesson plans:

Dreaming of Timbuctoo - Dreaming of Timbuctoo is part of the Essex County Historical Society Adirondack History Center Museum's Education Projects web page, and contains a link to a PDF Teacher/Student activity guide.

Recommended Web Sites

Exhibitions at the Brooklyn Public Library - This web page describes the Dreaming of Timbuctoo: From Africa to the Adirondacks exhibit, curated by Amy Godine.

John Brown Farm and Gravesite - This web page, which is part of the National Park Service's Aboard the Underground Railroad National Register, provides an overview of the history and significance of John Brown's Farm and Gravesite. This web page lets visitors navigate to other National Park Service web pages associated with the Underground Railroad.

John Brown Farm, New York History Net - This web page provides an overview of John Brown's land purchase from Gerrit Smith as well as an overview of the history and significance of John Brown's Farm and Gravesite.

John Brown Farm State Historic Site - This is the official New York State Park Service web page for the John Brown Farm State Historic Site.

On the Trail of John Brown: What Mary Brown Saw a Self-Guided Tour - This self-guided tour from the Essex County Historical Society Adirondack History Center Museum follows the route John Brown's body traveled as it made its way from the railroad depot and freight house in Vergennes, VT to its final resting place on his farm in North Elba, NY.

Recommended Articles

Adirondack Journal — Timbucto: African American History in the Adirondacks, <http://www.adkmuseum.org/about_us/adirondack_journal/?id=63>

Dyson, Zita.  “Gerrit Smith’s Effort in Behalf of the Negros in New York.”  The Journal of Negro History 3, no. 4 (October 1918): 354-359.

Godine, Amy.  “The Making of an Exhibition.”  Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore 28 (Spring, Summer 2003): 12-19. - In this article, Amy Godine describes her role and involvement in the creation of the Dreaming of Timbuctoo exhibit.

Jones, Katherine Butler.  “They Called it Timbucto.”  Orion, (Winter 1998): 27-33.

Litwack, Leon F.  “The Abolitionist Dilemma: The Antislavery Movement and the Northern Negro.”  The New England Quarterly, 34, no.1 (March 1961): 50-73.

Recommended Books

Calarco, Tom. People of the Underground Railroad: A Biographical Dictionary. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2008.

Calarco, Tom.  The Underground Railroad in the Adirondack Region.  Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2004.

Dann, Norman K.  Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform.  New York: Log Cabin Books, 2009.

Dann, Norman K.  When We Get to Heaven: Runaway Slaves on the Road to Peterboro.  New York: Log Cabin Books, 2008.

Frothingham, Octavius Brooks.  Gerrit Smith: A Biography.  New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1878.

Hammond, Charles A.  Gerrit Smith: The Story of a Noble Life.  Geneva, New York: W.P. Humphrey, 1908.

Harlow, Ralph Volney.  Gerrit Smith: Philanthropist and Reformer.  New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1939.

Renehan, Edward. The Secret Six: The True Tale of the Men who Conspired with John Brown. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1997.

Reynolds, David S.  John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights.  New York: Vintage Books, 2006.

Schneider, Paul.  The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness.  New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1997.

Stauffer, John.  The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2002.