Class Room of the Colored Orphan Asylum. Collection New-York Historical Society.

The classroom materials for New York Divided were designed for middle- and high-school students. They use a documents-based approach to explore the exhibition's three large themes: the bonds between New York City and the South; black New Yorkers' determined effort to establish autonomous black organizations and win important legal rights; and the issues of race and citizenship that were brought to a head in the Civil War. A classroom visit to the exhibition will enrich the curriculum significantly and introduce students to a much fuller exploration of this history. The curriculum materials, however, can function independently and do not require that students visit the exhibition.

The teacher's guide provides all the overview materials teachers will need, including a summary of the exhibition's three main themes, lesson plans and student worksheets, brief descriptions of the items in the student materials, a glossary, a bibliography, and a list of useful websites. The PDF of the teacher's guide also includes a detailed table of contents for all the classroom materials for New York Divided. Download PDF.

The student materials include three units, focused on the three themes, as well as a brief lesson that can be used either at the beginning or the end of the curriculum. Each unit contains support material (including background, postscript, and sometimes other classroom aids), a document set (primary source materials), and life stories (profiles of people who help put the issues in human terms).

  • "Reflections of James McCune Smith." A brief introductory or follow-up lesson based on two excerpts from the writing of black physician and abolitionist James McCune Smith. Download PDF.
  • Unit 1: "The Pro-Southern City of New York." An examination of the pro-southern, pro-slavery environment of New York City in the mid-1800s. Download PDF.
  • Unit 2: "Black Vigilance." A case study of the legal battle over a man seized as a runaway slave, and the effort to win jury trials in all fugitive slave cases. Download PDF.
  • Unit 3: "Who Will Fight the War?" An exploration of the clash between racial attitudes in New York and the pressure to fill the Union ranks with more soldiers. Download PDF.

New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War interpretive gallery tours are made possible by the generosity of The Heckscher Foundation for Children. Additional support for N-YHS education programs provided by Citigroup, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc., New York Life Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., Washington Mutual, the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.