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Learn to use primary source materials to teach students about the abolitionist movement in Wisconsin in the 1850s.

Historical Essay

Paine, Byron, 1827-1871

Civil Rights Law

Learn about the Milwaukee based lawyer who won two of Wisconsin's most important civil rights cases and was on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Photograph

Sherman M. Booth

Date:  date unknown

Description: Sherman Booth (1812-1904), abolitionist editor and leader.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Giant knife presented to John Fox Potter by Missouri Republicans after his challenge to duel with a Virginia congressman, 1860. (Museum object #1957.112)

Photograph

Frederick Douglass

Date:  

Description: Quarter-length carte-de-visite portrait of Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist and publisher of the newspaper The North Star.

Photograph

Sojourner Truth

Date:  date unknown

Description: Three-quarter length carte-de-visite of Sojourner Truth. The text at the bottom says "I sell the shadow to support the substance."

Date: 1853 

Description: Daguerreotype of E. Harwood, Dr. William Brisbane, and Levi Coffin, sitting in a row.

Read about the development of the Republican Party in Wisconsin in the years prior to the Civil War.

Photograph

John Brown's Cabin

Date: 1890 ca.

Description: A view of the cabin of John Brown (5/9/1800 – 12/2/1859), an American abolitionist who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to end slavery...

Two Lawyers Spur Abolitionist Reform and Universal Voting Rights

Byron Paine and Halbert E. Paine use the power of law as a powerful force for radical abolitionist reform in mid-19th century Wisconsin.

Read about the most famous escapes of fugitive slaves along Wisconsin's Underground Railroad. Includes links to primary sources.

Print

John Brown

Date:  

Description: Engraved vignetted carte-de-visite of John Brown, who led a raid on the U.S. Arsenal on October 16, 1859, at Harper's Ferry in the hopes of capturing weapo...

Discover Juliet Severance, the free-thinking Whitewater physician who was involved with the anti-slavery movement, temperance, and women's rights.

Date: 1971 ca.

Description: Recruitment poster for a Soviet Jewry Freedom Bus, advocating the liberation of the Soviet Jewish population. Features large chain links and the phrase "Le...

Analyze primary and secondary sources to learn more about motivations and emotions involved during the Civil War era and Underground Railroad

The story of Capt. Jonathan Walker whose hand was branded with "S.S." (for "slave stealer") for assisting fugitive slaves.

The story of Louise Williams who provided business and legal counsel for women who lived all over southern WI for five decades after the Civil War.
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