Cleveland's Response to the Slavery Issue
To provide students with an example of how Cleveland responded
to the issue of slavery. To introduce students to a prominent
member of the Cleveland African-American community and his recollection
of a runaway slave case in Cleveland.
abolitionist, Ohio's black laws, fugitive, warrant
- How did Clevelanders respond to the slavery issue?
- What role did Cleveland and its citizens play in the case
of the runaway slaves Alexander Williams and John Houston?
- Ask students to define abolitionism and place into historical
- Distribute copies of the newspaper ads from Cleveland papers
in the 1840s. What might these ads suggest about Cleveland and
the abolitionist movement?
- Have students research John Malvin or read the short biography
of Malvin provided in the lesson plan. Ask students to explain
why they think John Malvin was an important Cleveland citizen
during the 19th Century. (answers should reflect Malvin's active
role in the African-American community and his work for equality)
- Distribute or read to students the excerpt from Malvin's autobiography
of the runaway incident in Cleveland in the 1840s and discuss.
What did Malvin and others do to help the runaways? Why do you
think Malvin decided to help Williams escape at the end?
Have students re-enact the incident. Using Malvin's recollection
and the Character List, have students write a script, assign parts
and act out the play.
Students can become newspaper reporters and write a newspaper
article about the runaway incident.
Students can write an editorial for a newspaper about the incident.
Have students write an opinion paper on Malvin's decision to helpWilliams
escape before the trial.
Students could research other abolitionist activities including
the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue of 1856, and the Lucy Bagby case
in Cleveland in 1861.