Excellent website from a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks Workshop I attended this summer called Crafting Freedom. This site has language arts and social studies lesson plans, short videos, and primary sources about African American entrepreneurs and artisans before the civil war. Many of them created their own businesses to earn money to purchase their freedom. It’s incredibly important to teach our students about these skilled African Americans because they shatter the stereotype many of our students have about slaves. Many of the entrepreneurs are from North Carolina, which makes me particularly excited to teach my students about them!
Even though the lessons are for 3rd-8th graders, many of the primary resources and lessons can be modified to use with high schoolers. They are also great for aligning with the Common Core State Standards. I highly recommend this source (and the workshop)!