A 6-12 Framework for Teaching American Slavery

Kate Shuster
Bethany Jay
Cynthia Lynn Lyerly

Most students leave high school without an adequate understanding of the role slavery played in the development of this nation—or how its legacies influence us today. In an effort to remedy this, we developed a comprehensive guide for teaching and learning this critical topic at the middle and high school levels. Our goal is to inspire a widespread commitment to robust and effective teaching about American slavery in K–12 classrooms.

A Framework for Teaching American Slavery includes important big ideas and critical content students must know to understand the historical and modern significance of slavery in what is now the United States. It also includes resource materials to assist educators in locating high-quality, relevant teaching materials.

This resource and its elementary companion are the results of extensive work with historians and educators. They designed these frameworks for teachers with the hope that they can be used at every level of instruction to influence the development of lessons, curricula and even textbooks. 

We recognize that this history is fundamental to understanding our nation’s past and its present. And we are pleased to share this 2019 edition of A Framework for Teaching American Slavery.



Teaching Tolerance collage of images

Welcome to Learning for Justice—Formerly Teaching Tolerance!

Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

Learn More