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The Impact of the Haitian Revolution on 18th Century Philadelphia

The Impact of the Haitian Revolution on 18th Century Philadelphia” curriculum unit will serve as a supplemental instructional tool to provide middle and high school students with knowledge of how a relationship between the city of Philadelphia and the colony of Saint Domingue developed as a direct result of a revolution that would last for 13 years, from 1791 to 1804.  Additionally, the unit will build background knowledge of the events that led up to the Haitian Revolution using primary source documents provided by both renown scholars of Philadelphia History as well as the Haitian Revolution. The unit is intended for high school students, but can be modified to meet the social studies curriculum goals of academically higher level performing middle school students. This unit can be taught in the American History, World History, Global Studies, Pennsylvania History, and African American History classrooms. It can also be instructed as an interdisciplinary unit in the English classroom to teach the revolutionary period, specifically the Haitian Revolution, utilizing various novels that include Madison Smartt Bell’s trilogy All Souls Rising: A Novel of Haiti, Master of the Crossroads, and The Stone that the Builder Refused, Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel by Isabel Allende, In Darkness by Nick Lake or Stella: A Novel of the Haitian Revolution by Emeric Bergeaud, translated in 2015 by Christen Mucher and Leslie Curtis. This unit is aligned with and incorporates the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards for Reading and History. The unit will focus on content comprehension, introducing new information, building background knowledge, and enhancing critical thinking skills. This interdisciplinary unit can be used to discuss the events leading up the Haitian Revolution that involved the many race, class, and social classifications that contributed to the many divisions on the colony, the “small revolutions” in connection to the “big revolution,” and how the revolution impacted 18th century Philadelphia and its residents.

Keysiah M. Middleton

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