“Slavery and Race in Colonial America” Focus of Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators at Fort Ticonderoga this May  

Fort Ticonderoga will host the Eighth Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday May 20, 2016 in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. This day-long conference, while intended for educators, is open to anyone with an interest in helping connect students with history. This year’s conference, titled “Slavery and Race in Colonial America,” has a special focus on slavery in New York and the Champlain Valley. Presenters include classroom teachers, museum educators and consultants, and archivists.

Keynote speaker Kristin Gallas will speak on “Teaching Slavery and Race.” Gallas argues that “A more comprehensive and culturally competent approach to teaching about slavery can build a greater sense of shared humanity as opposed to the separation that has long been wrought by racial hierarchies in our society.” Gallas is a consultant with the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery, overseeing the design of workshops for educators and public history professionals. She is the co-editor of Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites, among other publications on best practices in the interpretation of slavery.

Travis Bowman, Senior Curator for the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, will speak on “Slavery in the Dutch New York.” His session examines the role slavery played in the formation and growth of the West India Company and how the Company’s Atlantic slave trading activities affected the colonists of Dutch New York.

Julie Daniels, Coordinator of Education Programs at the New York State Archives, and Jessica Maul, an education consultant with the New York State Archives Partnership Trust, will present “Slavery in New York.” The session will take participants through a case study/inquiry developed by the New York State Archives to teach students about the history of slavery in New York State. The lessons give students the opportunity to analyze documents, interpret the evidence, and draw conclusions about the system of slavery in New York and the process of gradual emancipation.

Tim Potts, a teacher at Robert J. Kaiser Middle School in Monticello, New York, and Rich Strum, Director of Education at Fort Ticonderoga, explore “Slavery in the Champlain Valley: Case Studies.” Most of us are guilty of thinking about slavery as a “southern” issue, but slavery existed right here in the Champlain Valley. Participants will examine two case studies: one alluding to slavery, while the second demonstrates that slavery was a crucial part of the economy at the southern end of Lake Champlain in the 1760s and 1770s. Participants will share in learning lesson plan strategies for unpacking unique primary sources from Fort Ticonderoga Museum’s collection.

Pre-registration to attend the conference is required. The cost is $45 per person. Registration forms can be downloaded from Fort Ticonderoga’s website at www.fortticonderoga.org under the “Education” tab by selecting “Educators” on the drop down menu. You can learn about other opportunities for educators at Fort Ticonderoga in 2016 on the same page on the website.

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