Category Archives: Video

Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – The Oregon Trail

Promise Video Oregon Trail

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

And this family — one of things we liked about this family’s story was that this family travels on The Oregon Trail.

It started in Independence, Missouri and it went 2,000 miles across the country to the territory of Oregon. And the reason this family wanted to take it was because — in order to get people to come to Oregon — the Territory of Oregon said “We will give you free land.” So people traveled — travelled this route. It took them months to do it and it is a route that now, if you went in a car, would take us, what, 4 days. If we went on a plane, it would take 4 hours. So they would start and go all the way through.

And there were places they would stop along the way. There was a rock along the way — I think we have a picture of it — called Independence Rock. And the people who were in the wagon train would stop and carve their name in the rock, to let people who were coming after them know “we made it this far.” Going on The Oregon Trail was a very difficult, dangerous treacherous thing to do. There were lots of things that they could encounter.

These are actual pictures – this is a picture of people’s actual carvings into the rock.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – Slavery and the Declaration of Independence

Promise declaration

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

The other thing we wanted to say, briefly, about slavery , which is really important about the United States is that many people don’t realize that we had the chance to end slavery at the very beginning — the time we signed the Declaration of Independence — which you are all studying right?

Usually, and I will tell you this, my college students sometimes make this confusion. They think that the Declaration set up government, but it didn’t. All it was, was a list, a Declaration, of the crimes committed by the King of England which allowed us to break away from him. And one of those crimes, in the very original draft of the Declaration that Thomas Jefferson wrote, said taking people from one country and making them slaves in another is a crime and we don’t like the King for doing that, so we get to leave.

But that’s not in the Declaration of Independence today, because when Thomas Jefferson put that in there, all the other Southern territories said “No, No! We’re not going to sign a piece of paper that says that!” and so he took it out. Which means we started the country as a country that accepted slavery, but we had a moment when we could have let it be, right then. So for me, that’s what’s so significant. We could have ended it right there, but instead we had to have the Civil War which you will all be doing in a couple of weeks, so that is how these 2 wars are tied together. One needn’t have happened if the question had been answered first.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – What is slavery?

Promise what is slavery

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

The thing that we find interesting about slavery when we study it, it was different in the United States than it had been in the past and many people say that is why slavery eventually ended. So, in Ancient Roman times, you know people had slaves. You read about that, right? Egyptians had slaves. Everybody did, but back then, slavery happened because two different sides would battle in some war and the dudes that lost had to be the slaves of the people who won. So that is a little bit like during the Superbowl, if the team that lost then had to go and make breakfast for the dudes that won for the rest of their lives.

Because that was how it was done and that made it different in the ancient world because slaves were understood to be intelligent people who had skills. You could have your slaves teach your child how to play chess or to read or to write poetry. But when we move over to the new world of what will become the United States, we changed the rules and it becomes — “You know what? We’re only going to go to this one other part of the world and all the people there, we are going to assume are needing to be slaves. We’re going to ship them over here and suddenly we’re not going to qualify them as people anymore. They’re going to be property and legal papers, so they don’t even have status as human beings and when you do that to somebody, you start to believe, clearly, that they can’t be as good as you. No more are they someone that I have met in combat and might have beaten me. They’re just somebody who is intended to help me for the rest of my life and that destroys our respect for other people.

That is called chattel slavery and that’s what was practiced in the United States. That was what was practiced by the family that’s in this book. So they are property in this man’s world and that is why, when they travel — and he’s made this deal which is kind of interesting why he would make this deal in the first place — but when he gets to the other side, he wants to be a good guy, which is really hard to do when you’re already a slave owner — how are you also a good guy? But nobody thinks they’re a bad guy, right? Nobody thinks they’re the bad guy. But they are doing what is appropriate for the time. Exactly. They’re living up to everyone else’s things. He thinks he has to keep his word — that’s why he frees the parents, but it’s like “But I never mentioned your children. So, I’m Ok. I haven’t broken my promise, have I.” That’s the interesting complexity, we thought, when we first heard the story.

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Video: “The Promise” — The Story

Promise story

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

It’s based on a true story and it’s about a slave family in 1854 who, the father can read and write. So, the master needs his help. The master makes a promise. He says, “If you come with me on the Oregon Trail, if you help me with the books and help me set up my farm, when we get to Oregon, I will free you.” But after they travel on the trail, when they get there, the master frees the parents, but keeps the kids. And in 1854, the slave parents sure to custody of their kids and win. Back then you couldn’t do that. A black person couldn’t sue a white person court, so it was a major case which determined whether the state of Oregon — or the Territory of Oregon — came into the United States as a free state or a slave state. And because of that, all the other states — all the other territories of the west coast — came into the Union as free states. 

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Video: Dr. Rosanne Welch speaks on “The Promise” and Slavery

Promise Video Title Card slavery

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

We discussed the origins of slavery in the Americas, the hardships of surviving the Oregon Trail (collecting buffalo chips was a topic of great interest as was the repetitive diet of bacon, beans, biscuits and coffee), and the patently unfair laws that kept enslaved African-Americans from learning to read and write and from testifying in court cases. 

The question and answer sessions highlighted the success of teaching critical thinking to elementary students. Children asked about what happened when someone died on the trail, why no one listened to the Quakers who believed all men and women were created equal even before the laws guaranteed that point and one boy even made the connection between Jackie Robinson’s having been called a trailblazer and our fictionalized family taking the Oregon Trail as original trailblazers.

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We even found that some teachers and parents on hand for the presentation were never taught that Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence (which listed crimes committed by the King that allowed us to sever our obligations as subjects) included the fact that the King condoned slavery and that during debate this was excised from the document or the Southern representatives would not sign.

These are things I take for granted from teaching American History every semester, but was happy to reiterate for this younger – and very eager to learn – audience. It is always gratifying to know that these presentations are engaging, entertaining and informative to both the children and the adults in attendance. In fact, one grandmother on hand bought 10 copies to take back to her classroom in Pennsylvania!

Video: A Reading of “The Promise” – Chapter 1 with Co-Author, Dawn Comer Jefferson

Promise reading title

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

We discussed the origins of slavery in the Americas, the hardships of surviving the Oregon Trail (collecting buffalo chips was a topic of great interest as was the repetitive diet of bacon, beans, biscuits and coffee), and the patently unfair laws that kept enslaved African-Americans from learning to read and write and from testifying in court cases. 

The question and answer sessions highlighted the success of teaching critical thinking to elementary students. Children asked about what happened when someone died on the trail, why no one listened to the Quakers who believed all men and women were created equal even before the laws guaranteed that point and one boy even made the connection between Jackie Robinson’s having been called a trailblazer and our fictionalized family taking the Oregon Trail as original trailblazers.

Print Edition | Kindle Edition

We even found that some teachers and parents on hand for the presentation were never taught that Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence (which listed crimes committed by the King that allowed us to sever our obligations as subjects) included the fact that the King condoned slavery and that during debate this was excised from the document or the Southern representatives would not sign.

These are things I take for granted from teaching American History every semester, but was happy to reiterate for this younger – and very eager to learn – audience. It is always gratifying to know that these presentations are engaging, entertaining and informative to both the children and the adults in attendance. In fact, one grandmother on hand bought 10 copies to take back to her classroom in Pennsylvania!

Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” and Slavery on the Oregon Trail – Dawn Comer Jefferson and Dr. Rosanne Welch

Promise Video Title Card

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

We discussed the origins of slavery in the Americas, the hardships of surviving the Oregon Trail (collecting buffalo chips was a topic of great interest as was the repetitive diet of bacon, beans, biscuits and coffee), and the patently unfair laws that kept enslaved African-Americans from learning to read and write and from testifying in court cases. 

The question and answer sessions highlighted the success of teaching critical thinking to elementary students. Children asked about what happened when someone died on the trail, why no one listened to the Quakers who believed all men and women were created equal even before the laws guaranteed that point and one boy even made the connection between Jackie Robinson’s having been called a trailblazer and our fictionalized family taking the Oregon Trail as original trailblazers.

Print Edition | Kindle Edition

We even found that some teachers and parents on hand for the presentation were never taught that Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence (which listed crimes committed by the King that allowed us to sever our obligations as subjects) included the fact that the King condoned slavery and that during debate this was excised from the document or the Southern representatives would not sign.

These are things I take for granted from teaching American History every semester, but was happy to reiterate for this younger – and very eager to learn – audience. It is always gratifying to know that these presentations are engaging, entertaining and informative to both the children and the adults in attendance. In fact, one grandmother on hand bought 10 copies to take back to her classroom in Pennsylvania!