It was simply amazing to see the interaction and the engagement among my students while using this role-play. Due to my district’s scope and sequences, we are only able to study the period of Reconstruction for roughly three weeks. Three weeks does not allow ample time to break down the period of Reconstruction, but this role-play allowed my students to see the hardships that freed-blacks endured as they dealt with life after the war.
One of my students mentioned that they never realized “…the shift from being enslaved to free would be so hard for African-Americans. [They had] just assumed that African-Americans would travel to find family, find a job, and fight for their civil rights. This opened my eyes to a new understanding of the trials that African-Americans had to go through during Reconstruction.”
Another student mentioned that they had never considered the fact that, technically, freed-blacks didn’t even own the clothes that were on their backs, and that it would have been so hard for them to find work or find a way to be paid.
Watching their eyes open up to a perspective of African-Americans and not a textbook’s view was an amazing experience as a teacher.