These slave narratives are part of a joint project between middle school students
in Accra, Ghana, and students in Portland, Michigan. The students in Ghana research the slave trade as it
was practiced in Africa. They visit a former slave castle where Africans were imprisoned while
waiting for slave ships to take them to the western hemisphere. The students in Ghana, who are in
teacher Nancy Adair's classroom at Lincoln School in Accra, write the first half of a story about
an African who is kidnapped from his or her life, marched to a slave castle on the west coast of
Africa, and imprisoned. Students in Portland then pick up the story and bring the
character created by the students in Ghana to the United States where he or she suffers a slave
auction and is ultimately sold to a plantation.
Students in my class had a choice of writing their story in a hypertext format or as a traditional
story. As part of the writing process, students had to study the slave trade and learn about conditions
on board the slave ships and on plantations. These sorts of projects are
excellent vehicles for in depth learning. Not only have students come away from this project with
a deep understanding of slave life, but they have deepened their abilities to read historical documents,
and synthesize that information into something new--a piece of historical fiction.