An African spirit bundle—a group of items believed to have spiritual power wrapped in cloth— was found in Annapolis, Maryland in 2008. It dates back to the early 18th century. This public radio story examines what the bundle was for and who may have put it there. It hung at a crossroads, which in the Yourba tradition is a place of great danger.
Story Length: 2:30
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The African Meeting House is the oldest standing black church in America.The Meeting House underwent a $9 million restoration to make it look like it did in 1855. This public radio story looks at the re-dedication of a building that helped shape Boston’s and America’s history.
What did America look like before Columbus arrived in 1492? Historian Charles Mann paints a vivid picture of pre-Columbian America. It was a world of glittering cities, advanced technology, monumental architecture, and powerful empires. What happened to it all? Was it destroyed by European might, or by natural disaster?
The abolition of slavery in the United States didn’t happen all at once. Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery, in 1777, and most Northern States followed suit. This meant that escaped slaves could come North and rebuild their lives as free men and women. From the Underground Railroad, to even mailing yourself in a box, slaves found ways to escape their circumstances and come North. The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act changed all that. Why was this Act approved and what was its result? Listen to learn more about escaping slavery and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson argued that “all men are created equal,” yet during his lifetime he owned over 600 men, women and children. Jefferson wasn’t the only Founding Father who owned slaves and supported slavery. How could men who believed in liberty also believe in slavery? This lesson explores this contradiction, as well as the lives of slaves who made Jefferson’s lifestyle possible.
These levels of listening complexity can help teachers choose stories for their students. The levels do not relate to the content of the story, but to the complexity of the vocabulary, sentence structure and language in the audio story.
NOTE: Listenwise stories are intended for students in grades 5-12 and for English learners with intermediate language skills or higher.
These stories are easier to understand and are a good starting point for everyone.
These stories have an average language challenge for students and can be scaffolded for English learners.
These stories have challenging vocabulary and complex language structure.