Eighth Annual Colonial America Conferernce for Educators

"Slavery and Race in Colonial America"

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Eighth Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday, May 16, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. This day-long conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. This year's conference focuses on "Slavery and Race in Colonial America," with a particular focus on slavery in New York and New England.

The conference takes place on the Friday preceding Fort Ticonderoga’s Twenty-First Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, a weekend-long seminar focused on the French & Indian War (1754-1763). Educators attending both the Conference and the War College receive a discount on conference registration and are eligible to earn one graduate credit through Castleton University in Vermont.

Conference registration fee of $45 ($35 for educators also attending the War College) includes a box lunch.

Session Descriptions for 2016:


Slavery in the Dutch New York

This 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. Travis Bowman is Senior Curator for the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, where he is responsible for the research, care, and exhibition of the collections at New York State’s 41 historic sites and parks.



   Teaching Slavery and Race

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. Without sensitivity to how students feel when they learn this history we are at risk of either starting or further solidifying patterns of shame, guilt, anger, defensiveness and separation that only deepen as young people become adults. While it may seem inevitable that learning this history will create division, we can actually discuss slavery and race in ways that are honest, inclusive, trust-building, and that can inspire students to commit to the ideals of democracy. Participants will examine primary sources, art, and activities as vehicles for teaching about slavery and race. Kristin 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 (Rowman & Littlefield, January 2015), among other publications on best practices in the interpretation of slavery.

Slavery in New York

This 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. Julie Daniels is the Coordinator of Education Programs at the New York State Archives. Jessica Maul is an Education Consultant with the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.


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. We 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 the Fort Ticonderoga Museum’s collection. Tim Potts has taught middle level Social Studies for 25 years at the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School in Monticello, New York. He is a past President and current Treasurer of the New York State Council for Social Studies. Tim has presented at numerous local, state, and national conferences on innovative ways to teach Social Studies. Rich Strum is the Director of Education at Fort Ticonderoga and Project Director for the Fort’s NEH Landmarks Workshops and the Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute.



Download a Conference Flyer and Registration Form.