Rules for Plantation Management (1853)

This lesson can be used with The United States: An Open Ended History, a free online textbook.  Adapted in part from open sources.

Plantation Management, De Bow’s xiv (February 1853): 177-8 The following rules for the instruction of overseers, and the Management of  Negroes, are by Mr. St. Geo Cocke, one of the wealthiest and most  intelligent planters of the old dominion. They are worthy of the note of  planters everywhere: 


PLANTATION MANAGEMENT. POLICE. 

1st. It is strictly required of the manager that he rise at the dawn of day  every morning; that he blow a horn for the assembling of the hands; require  all hands to repair to a certain and fixed place in ten minutes after the  blowing of the horn, and there himself see that all are present, or notice  absentees; after which the hands will receive their orders and be started to  their work under charge of the foreman. The stable will generally be the  most convenient place for the assembling of all hands after morning call. 

2nd. All sick negroes will be required to report to the manager at morning  call, either in person, if able to do so, or through others, when themselves  confined to the house. 

3rd. Immediately after morning call, the manager will himself repair to the  stable, together with the ploughmen, and see to the proper feeding, cleaning  and gearing of the horses. He will also see to the proper feeding and care of  the stock at the farm yard. 

4th. As soon as the horse and stock have been fed and otherwise attended  to, the manager will take his breakfast; and immediately after, he will visit  and prescribe for the sick, and then repair to the fields to look after the  hands; and he will remain with them as constantly as possible during every  day. 

5th. The sick should be visited not only every morning immediately after  breakfast, but as such other times of the day and night as cases may  require. Suitable medicine, diet, and other treatment, be prescribed, to be  administered by the nurse; or in more critical cases, the physician should be  sent for. An intelligent and otherwise suitable woman will be appointed as a nurse upon each plantation, who will administer medicine and otherwise  attend upon the sick. 

6th. There will be stated hours for the negroes to breakfast and dine, and  those hours must be regularly observed. Breakfast will be at eight o’clock,  and dinner at one o’clock. There will be a woman to cook for the hands, and  she must be required to serve the meals regularly at those hours. The manager will frequently inspect the meals as they are brought by the cook,  see that they have been properly prepared, and that vegetables be at all  times served with the meat and bread. 

7th. The manager will, every Sunday morning after breakfast, visit and  inspect every quarter, see that the houses and yards are kept clean and in  order, and that the families are dressed in clean clothes. 

8th. Comfortable and ample quarters will be provided for the negroes. Each  family will have a separate room with fireplace, to be furnished with beds,  bedsteads, and blankets, according to the size of the family; each room will,  also, be furnished with a table, chairs, or benches, and chest for the clothes,  a few tin plates and cans, a small iron pot for cooking, &c. 

9th. The clothing to be furnished each year will be as follows: —  To each man and boy, 1 woolen coat, 1 pair do. pants, 1 pair of do. socks, 1  shirt, 1 pair of shoes, 1 wool hat, and a blanket every second year, to be  given 15th of November. 1 shirt, 1 pair of cotton pants, 1 straw hat, 1 pair  of shoes, to be given 1st of June.  To each woman and girl, 1 woolen frock, and to those who work in the field 1 woolen cape, 1 cotton shift, 1 pair stockings, 1 pair shoes, 1 cotton head  handkerchief, 1 summer suit of frock and shift, a blanket every second year,  and to women with more than one child, 2 blankets every second year. To children under 10 years of age, 1 winter and summer suit each. 

10th. Provisions will be issued weekly as follows: Field Hands . To each man, three and a half pounds bacon, and one and a half pecks meal. To each woman, girl and boy, two and a half pounds bacon, and one peck meal.  InDoor Hands. To each man and boy, two pounds bacon, and one peck corn  meal. To each woman and girl, two pounds bacon, and one peck corn meal.  to each child over two years and under ten years, one pound bacon, and  half a peck of corn meal.  To the above will be added milk, buttermilk, and molasses, at intervals, and  at all times vegetables, and fresh meat occasionally. 

11th. As much of the clothing must be made on the plantation as possible, wool and cotton should be grown in sufficient quantities for this purpose, and the women having young children be required to spin and weave the  same, and the managers’ wives will be expected to give particular attention  to this department, so essential to economical management. 

12th. A vegetable or kitchen garden will be established and well cultivated,  so that there may be, at all seasons, an abundance of wholesome and nutritious vegetables for the negroes, such as cabbages, potatoes, turnips, beets, peas, beans, pumpkins, &c. 

13th. A horn will be sounded every night at nine o’clock, after every negro  will be required to be at his quarters, and to retire to rest, and that this rule  may be strictly enforced, the manager will frequently, but at irregular and  unexpected hours of the night, visit the quarters and see that all are present, or punish absentees. 

14th. Each manager will do well to organize in his neighborhood, whenever practicable, patrol parties, in order to detect and punish irregularities of the  negroes, which are generally committed at night. But lest any patrol party  visit his plantation without apprising him of their intention, he will order the  negroes to report to him every such visit, and he will promptly, upon receiving such report, join the patrol party and see that they strictly conform  to the law whilst on this plantation, and abstain from committing any abuse. 

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Environmental Social Studies

  • Californios Verdes and Your Public Purpose Project: Can young people change the world, or are they stuck with the messy one that adults are planning to hand to them? Learn about the Californios Verdes, a group of young people inspired to take action on behalf of the environment in their hometown of La Paz, Mexico. Based on this model, students will devise their own public purpose project – a year-long project devised and carried out by students to improve quality of life, raise environmental awareness, or in some other way positively impact their community.
  • Where do you fit into Earth’s Ecosystems? (Even the Ones You’ve Never Seen with Your Own Two Eyes): Read about John Steinbeck, the American author who took part in a voyage to collect scientific samples of species in the Sea of Cortez.  His vivid writing is an entry point for students into a discussion of ecosystems, ecosystem goods and services, and human impacts on ecosystems.  Afterwards, students will apply these concepts to surveying, quantifying, and mapping their own ecological footprint.
  • Unrecognized Potential: Terra Preta, Ancient Orchards, and Life in the Amazon: Until relatively recently, it was widely believed that the Amazon Rainforest was incapable of sustaining large scale human development.  New findings have challenged this view, and evidence of ancient agriculture suggests that humans once developed this fragile region in ways so subtle that – in the form of carefully managed soils and prehistoric orchards – they have been hiding in plain sight all this time, challenging the basic tenants of “agriculture” as western eyes tend to recognize it.
  • The Pristine Myth: How Native Americans Shaped Their World (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities) For millennia before the arrival of Columbus, Native Americans shaped the environment around them to suit their needs, often in ways that were invisible from a European perspective.
  • The Three Sisters: Background information on the agricultural combination of maize (corn), beans, and squash that formed the backbone of the Mesoamerican and North American civilization, plus suggested activities.

“The Filipino is Worth Dying For” (What Ninoy really said)

“I have asked myself many times: Is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying, for? Is he not a coward who would readily yield to any colonizer, be he foreign or homegrown? Is a Filipino more comfortable under an authoritarian leader because he does not want to be burdened with the freedom of choice? Is he unprepared, or worse, ill-suited for presidential or parliamentary democracy?
I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for because he is the nation’s greatest untapped resource.” – Ninoy Aquino
This lesson is a part of a larger unit on the Philippines, free for use in your classroom: At the Crossroads of the World.  

3 Signs of a Hypocritical Classroom

Some great thoughts and insights on education from a colleague whom I admire… As usual when she writes, I couldn’t possibly dream of saying it better myself:

Follow Miss Fooster

The entire conference room- there must be over 500 teachers in here- has been conscripted into a 9 a.m. line dance.  Everyone’s supposed to stand up and copy this ridiculously enthusiastic morning writhing in unison with all the other strangers.  I hate it.  It’s my worst nightmare, minus the ebola.  I’m hiding in the back behind a piling thinking I would only do something like this if it were a wedding, open bar, and we were making up our own moves and giggling.

In other words, we if we had some autonomy.  

The irony is that one of the big messages in these conference sessions is that to create cohesion in a classroom- thereby creating an engaged, compassionate, and high-achieving community- you must give students choice and control.  Autonomy.  It’s weird to me that they’re starting today with brainless, compliance-based call and response.

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Ideas for Teaching about the Ancient Maya

Openendedsocialstudies has just launched a brand new unit for teaching middle or high school classrooms about the ancient Maya.  Find free readings, guided questions, and lesson plan ideas on the following subjects:

  • The Basics of Ancient Maya Civilization – Who were the Maya?  Where did they live and when?
  • The Ancient Maya in Time and Space – How did the Maya interact with their environment?  How did the Maya conceive of themselves and the universe around them?  In European influenced societies, geography, ecology, time, and spirituality are all relatively distinct spheres – not so for the ancient Maya, whose since of time, space, and religion were closely linked.
  • Ancient Maya Society – How was the ancient Maya society structured?  How did they govern and feed themselves?
  • The Maya City – The most durable testament to the grandeur of the ancient Maya are their grand construction projects.  How were these cities made, and what makes them so awe-inspiring?
  • The Written Language of the Maya – Language shapes thoughts, knowledge, and feelings as well as human imagination, so it permeates all aspects of culture – the complexity of the Mayan language is key for understanding the richness of this people.

One great way for students to develop a deeper understanding of a concept is to have them teach others.

  1. Choose any section from this unit and develop a lesson – in the form of a presentation, a storybook, or a worksheet – that teaches younger students about the Maya.  Make sure the material is age appropriate in content and approach, and create some simple questions to check your audience’s understanding.

Find more free lessons on the Maya at Openendsocialstudies.org.  

There are also plenty of free lessons featuring other peoples from world history.

Free Lesson Plans: Understanding the Refugee Experience

Ms. Rita Ulrich, a Fulbright-Hays fellow, traveled to Bulgaria and Greece in 2017 to better understand the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe.  She recently contributed her lessons – detailed text appropriate for the middle or high school classroom, complete with creative activities and guided reading questions.  It’s everything you need to humanize this unfolding human tragedy for your students.

  • Refugees and Human Rights in Bulgaria (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): What are refugees, why are they in European countries like Bulgaria, and how is the United Nations involved?
  • The Psychology of a Refugee Crisis (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): What psychological dangers do refugees face throughout their journey and during their time searching for safety and a new home?

There are also plenty of free lessons featuring other nations currently in the news.

Learn how you can submit your own work to Openendedsocialstudies.org.

Write a Poem in Ancient Mayan

Here’s an idea to get your social studies students going — have them write a poem using the glyphic script of the ancient Maya. 

Background on the language can be found with this free Openendedsocialstudies lesson plan, The Written Language of the Ancient Maya.  Then, your students can use this dictionary to write a short poem in the Maya script, using at least a dozen glyphs. 

Have students share their poems with the class and reflect — does composing in Mayan effect the experience of writing and reading?

cocao
Chocolate beverages were popular among the ancient Mayas, who used special recipients to serve it. They often consumed it cold, hot, or spiced with chili, annatto, or vanilla. The inscription on this vessel records its function for drinking a specific type of cacao, and the name and place of residence of its owner, Tzakal u K’ahk’ Hutal Ek’, lord of Acanceh.

Find more free lessons on the Maya at Openendsocialstudies.org.  

There are also plenty of free lessons featuring other peoples from world history.