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In-Depth Resources: Unit 3

Chapter 11 Section 2 Plantations and Slavery Spread

Enrichment Activity

Analyze Spirituals
Activity Choose two spirituals from such examples as “Go Down, Moses,” “Follow the Drinking
Gourd,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” or others. In writing or orally, present an analysis comparing
and contrasting the two spirituals you have selected. Be sure to explain how the songs might have
had a double meaning for enslaved persons.
Strategies for Writing an Analysis An analysis takes something apart to see how and why it
works. In this analysis, you will explain the style and content of two spirituals to explain how they
worked for the people who sang them.

1. Preparing your analysis

• Gather information. You can find examples of spirituals on the Internet or in books in your
school or local library. If you can, borrow recordings and listen to the way the songs were sung.
• Make your choice. You may want to choose spirituals that touch on the same idea, but seem
different in some way. That will allow you to compare and contrast them.
• Take notes. Use a chart to list facts about the style and content of each spiritual. Note whether
the spirituals use rhyme, figures of speech, or sound devices such as alliteration or repetition of
words. How do the songs express the main idea? In what ways could each song carry a hidden

2. Drafting and revising

• Organize your material. Write a brief introduction to explain the spirituals, a body to discuss
the similarities and differences between them, and a conclusion to restate your findings.
• Write a rough draft. Use quotes from the spirituals to back up each of your main points.
• Remember to use transitions. When talking about the similarities of the spirituals, use
words and phrases such as also, too, likewise, similarly, and both. When talking about their
differences, use words such as but, in contrast, and yet.
• Share your draft with a classmate. Ask your friend to offer suggestions for improvement.

3. Revising and editing

• Check for errors. Examine your wording, spelling, and grammar.
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• Create a title. Make sure your title will make someone want to read your analysis.

4. Sharing your analysis

• Consider an oral presentation. If you have located recordings of your songs, play them for
the class.

Reflect and Assess

After you finish writing your analysis, reflect on the process you followed. Explore the
ideas and issues below.
• Where did you find the most useful facts about your subject?
• How did you get your best writing ideas?
• What did you do in writing this analysis that you would like to repeat on another
piece of writing?