Portfolio Activities for “Healing Touch: Susie King Taylor—Civil War Teacher and Nurse”

Grades: 4-8
Subjects: Social Studies, Reading and Language Arts, ELL/ESL
Categories: Race and ethnicity; History

Story Corner is a student-directed feature in Teaching Tolerance magazine. In the current issue, we tell the story of the first black nurse in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. The story is available to download either as a PDF or Web-text.

reunite [ree-yoo-nite]
(verb) to bring back together

illegal [ihl-ee-guhl]
(adjective) against the law

rebel [ree-bell]
(verb) to resist or fight back

musket [muhs-keht]
(noun) large shoulder gun used before the modern rifle was invented

aversion [uh-vuhr-zhuhn]
(noun) dislike or disgust

alleviate [uh-lee-vee-ate]
(verb) lessen

endured [ehn-duhrd]
(verb) suffered or put up with

frustration [fruhs-tray-shun]
(noun) a feeling of anxiety, helpless or discouraged

Reading Comprehension Questions

  1. Why did southerners forbid people from teaching slaves how to read and write?
  2. Besides teaching, what other job did Susie King Taylor perform during the Civil War?
  3. In the book Susie King Taylor wrote about her life, what frustrations did she express?

Discussion Questions

  1. People usually get paid for the work they do. Susie King Taylor was not paid for the work she did when she was enslaved, and she was not paid for the work she performed as a teacher and a nurse during the Civil War. Why do you think she did not see her work in slavery and her wartime work in the same way?
  2. Why do you think Susie King Taylor wrote her life story?
  3. If you could, what would you tell Taylor about the steps made toward equality for African-Americans after her book was published in 1902?

Around the Web

Civil War Women Blog 

Freedom, Black Soldiers & the Union Military 

History of African Americans in the Civil War

Before Rosa Parks: Susie King Taylor

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