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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Maps of Liberia

[Detail] Map of Liberia. Lith. by E. Weber & Co., 1845.

Interviews | Persuasive Writing and Imagery | Point-of-View | Travel Writing | Speeches

2) Persuasive Writing and Imagery

Students can use the maps in the collection to practice the art of persuasive writing. Instruct the students to assume the role of a member of the American Colonization Society with the responsibility of recruiting African Americans to emigrate to Liberia. The ACS has given them funds to reprint 100 copies of one map. They are also able to add text to the map.

Have the students browse the collection by Geographic Location to choose a map they find appealing. They can then write text to accompany the map. Have them consider which African Americans they are targeting in their campaign. What arguments will persuade this audience to leave for Liberia? Will formal or informal writing be most appropriate? (Remind students that most African Americans could not read and so the visual data in the map will be most important in communicating with them.) Students, too, should keep in mind that they are representing the American Colonization Society, which will be mindful of the image it portrays to the public, both its supporters and detractors. For guidance, students can read the writings of the American Colonization Society by searching on the organization's name in African-American Perspectives, 1818-1907 and From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909. Students can present their final project to the class, which can vote on the most persuasive map.

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