The Lemmon Slave Case Educational Materials

Portrait of Seated Young Woman in Plaid Dress with Hands Clasped, c. 1860. New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Ambrotype Collection.

Lesson Plans & Activities

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The Lemmon Slave Case: Courts Rule Slaves Brought into NYS Free Before the Civil War

Created by Prof. Laura A. Hymson, BHSEC Faculty
NYS Common Core Grades 11 & 12:
United States History and Government
Participation in Government and Civics

The Lemmon Slave Case provides students of U.S. history a window into the legal challenges and moral conflicts over slavery before the Civil War. This case requires a close examination of federal and state law. The New York courts freed slaves brought into the free state, while the United States Supreme Court decided Dred Scott was not free though he had traveled to a free state with his master’s family. Many curricula place a strong emphasis on the Dred Scott decision, but the Lemmon case shifts focus to New York and allows students to contemplate state’s rights implications and the interpretation of the law through a lens of human equality.

This lesson plan meets the following guidelines of New York State’s Common Core Social Studies Framework (2017):

⇒ Watch students work through this lesson on our Videos & Events page. 

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