History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

How much can we learn from Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua’s slave narrative?

This enquiry uses a ‘cultural history’ approach to help students gain a deeper understanding of slaves’ experiences in the 19th century.

Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua was captured from the Kingdom of Benin and transported to America to work as a slave.

Although in some ways his experiences were echoed by thousands of others who faced the horrors of the Middle Passage and life on the plantations, in other ways his life and experiences were atypical. As such, his account helps students to reach an understanding of the diverse nature of slavery and the slave trade.

First extracting inferences from Baquaqua’s account, students then consider a number of clues as they explore the extent to which Baquaqua’s experiences were ‘typical’. Finally, students’ new knowledge of the slave trade is put to the test, as they are challenged with ‘knocking down’ a Wall of Misconceptions about the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

This enquiry – taking a personal story as its focus – should help students to engage with both the horrors and the nuances of the international trade in slaves.

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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Resource 1a and 1b: PDF
  • Resource 2a and 2b:PDF
  • Worksheet 1: PDF

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