Exhibit teaches children about slavery, abolition

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RAMONA – Andrea Martinez and Brenden Farley are only 8 years old, but they know the meaning of abolition and are learning about the Emancipation Proclamation thanks to a traveling history exhibit that opened at their school this week.

The exhibit was sent to Ramona Elementary from the New York-based Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The 50-foot traveling panel exhibit traces the history of the movement to abolish slavery from the framing of the Constitution to abolition during the Civil War.

The exhibit is divided into five panels, each featuring graphic reproductions of documents, images and text of a particular period or topic. The display, titled “Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery,” features the Founding Era, Slave Resistance, Abolitionism, Lincoln and the Emancipation and African-Americans in the Civil War.

Teacher Adriana Soltero and her third-grade class viewed the exhibit yesterday afternoon after spending days researching and talking about the civil rights movement, slavery and historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to desegregate an elementary school.

Soltero also tied in vocabulary lessons with the history lessons for her class, which includes several English-language learners. The students learned words such as “gourd,” “plantation,” “conductor” and “underground railroad.” Andrea, Brenden and their classmates drew pictures on paper to illustrate the words and the pieces of paper were tied together with yarn to create a “quilt” of paper panels.

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