Teacher’s Guide to Work for Freedom

Welcome to the teacher’s guide to the Tennessee History for Kids booklet called Work for Freedom [2019-2020 edition].

Rather than buying a single classroom set, please consider buying one for every student. We sell these booklets for $2 and print them on non-glossy paper because we want students to write in their booklets and keep them.

Please do NOT copy the booklets. That is a violation of our copyright and makes it difficult for us to continue to exist. The reason we sell them for only $2 is so teachers will not be tempted to copy the booklets.

If you would like the answers to the quiz questions in the booklet, please email bill@tnhistoryforkids.org and tell him your name and the school at which you teach.

Chapter One

One of the difficult parts about teaching this “stand alone” semester of Tennessee history is the realization that you are “going back over” subjects which the student (hopefully) learned last year, or even last semester–this time with a Tennessee focus. Please remember this as you go through the first part of Work for Freedom. You are not trying to “reteach” the entire Civil War–just teach the Civil War from the Tennessee perspective.

Speaking of the Tennessee perspective, this editorial newspaper clipping is the one referred to on page 3. It was published in Nashville, in 1861, by the Southern Methodist Publishing House. Although there were Unionists in Tennessee, we can safely say that many government and business leaders in Nashville shared the opinion of the author of the editorial (who turned out to be Holland McTyeire, later the founder of Vanderbilt University.)

Chapter Two

Click here for a virtual tour of Fort Donelson and here for a tour of Shiloh.

Click here to read a column published in 2006 about the Battle of Shiloh.

Sidebar: Old Glory

Click here to read more about William Driver’s flag. Driver and his flag have been (understandably) the subject of many articles in newspapers, magazines and documentaries. Click here to see a Smithsonian Institute website devoted to it.

Chapter Three

Click here to take a virtual tour of Fort Pillow and here to take one of Stone’s River Battlefield.

Click here for the Henderson County history page.

Regarding the Emancipation Proclamation and how it did NOT apply in Tennessee: In 1863 and through much of 1864, slavery was still being enforced in parts of Tennessee (the process under which slavery ended was a very complicated one; it didn’t just happen in a day or a week.)

If you want more proof of how slavery remained in Tennessee after the Emancipation Proclamation, check out the newspaper clipping on the right (click on it to make it larger). These three ads were published by the Athens Post newspaper, on April 17, 1863–four months after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. The place referred to as the “Mouse Creek Depot,” in the bottom ad, still stands. Today it is known as the Niota train station.

Chapter Four

Look at the photo on the top of page 16. Now take a look at this photo (click on it to make it larger.) These photographs, both taken during the Civil War, show the SAME BRIDGE–the one across Running Water Creek in Marion County. Perhaps we can all marvel at how good the Union Army’s engineers were to rebuild the bridge with the speed that they did!

Click here to learn more about this bridge and its reconstruction during the war.

Also… Running Water Creek was mentioned on page 47 of Long March to Tennessee. Only 70 years before this photo was taken, a Chickamaugan village lay along the banks of Running Water Creek! (Today, the creek is underwater because of Nickajack Dam.)

On another subject, click here to be taken on a virtual tour of the Carnton Plantation/Carter House and here to go on a tour “In Search of the Battle of Nashville.”

This is a very good time to point out that fifth grade is a really good time to take students on a Civil War field trip. The good news is that Civil War battlefields are all over, and many of them have education staff ready for field trips. If possible, please make this happen for the students!

Chapter Five

Click here for a virtual tour of the Andrew Johnson Historic Site.

The Memphis National Cemetery

It is not mentioned in the social studies standards and not covered in the booklet, but in April 1865, a ship called the Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River, just upstream from Memphis. About 1,800 men were killed in the deadliest maritime accident in American history. Many of the dead bodies floated ashore in Memphis, and many of those bodies are buried in graves marked “Unknown U.S. Soldier” at the Memphis National Cemetery.

Click here to take a tour “In Search of the Sultana.”

Chapter Six

In case, you are wondering, the Department of Education is required to include the teaching about the Tennessee constitutions of 1834 and 1870 somewhere in the social studies curriculum.

This is, however, pretty difficult stuff for fifth graders. Lewis Laska’s book is written at a scholarly level, and I did my best to pull out of it material that teachers and kids might find fairly simple and interesting.

Chapter Seven

A lot of supplemental material:

* Click here for the Shelby County history page.

* Click here for a virtual tour of the Memphis Cotton Exchange and here for a cool video in which “History Bill” walks all the way to Memphis with some cotton to sell.

* Click here to read a sobering column about the Memphis yellow fever epidemic.

Chapter Eight

Some of you may recognize this material as “left over” from the previous fifth grade booklet called He That Hath No Sword. We considered deleting this material in this booklet, but over the years we have had a lot of very positive feedback about it.

Click on the photo of the family to blow it up. (One thing you might try is asking your students to look at the photograph and write about it before they read Chapter 8.)


For more content related to the themes of this chapter, click here for a virtual tour of the Ducktown Basin, here for a tour of the Dunlap Coke Ovens, and here for a tour of the Tennessee Central Railway.

Chapter Nine

Thanks to the Tennessee State Library and Archives TEVA website, you can see the famous article that made Alvin York famous. Click here to see it.

Click here and here to read two columns that I wrote about the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Chapter 10

Photo: Blount County Library

Click here to read a column I wrote about the passage of the suffrage amendment.

A very interesting part of the Smoky Mountain story concerns the Little River Lumber Company. Visitors to the national park today would be surprised to learn that many of the trails and roads in the park were first created by a company which clear cut the place! Click here for a virtual tour “In Search of the Little River Lumber Company.”

Chapter 11

Click here for a virtual tour of the Cumberland Homesteads; here for a tour of Norris Dam State Park; and here for a tour of the Butler Museum.

Chapter 12

It bothers me a lot that we don’t talk much about war heroes from Tennessee very much in public schools, which is why I started Chapter 12 with content about John Willis. I have also written a column about this subject, which you can read here.

Also, the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center happens to be located in Chattanooga. Click here to be taken to its website.

Chapter 13

You can find supplemental information for this chapter on the Cumberland County history site, as well as the Oak Ridge Museum AMSE virtual tour here.

In 2015, I wrote a column about Gerhard Hennes, a German prisoner of war at Camp Crossville who later became a US citizen, and who wrote a book about his experiences in the camp many years later. I have written more than 160 of these Tennessee Magazine columns, and this one received more in the way of reader responses than any of them. Click here to read it.

Chapter 14

You can find information that goes along with this chapter on the Shelby, Davidson, Union and Hickman County history sites.

Meanwhile the best way to teach about the music of Tennessee is to PLAY the music of Tennessee, and a lot of this music can be found on the Internet.

Click here to hear an early recording of Beale Street Blues by W.C. Handy and click here to hear an early recording of Ole Miss Blues.

Chapter 15

Click here for a virtual tour of “In Search of Highlander Folk School.”

In July 2017 I interviewed Bobby Cain on stage at the Tennessee History for Kids tent revival. Here is a column about what he said.

Chapter 16

Click here for a virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

In 2016, Tennessee History for Kids produced several thousand copies of a large poster about the Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee (shown on the right).

If you are a public school teacher and would like one of those posters, email History Bill here and ask for a copy.

Chapter 17

In 2018, Tennessee History for Kids produced a series of 23 trading cards that feature famous heroes in Tennessee history–including Wilma Rudolph, Dolly Parton, John Sevier, Bobby Cain, Cornelia Fort and many others.

These trading cards cost only $5 a set and make a wonderful teaching supplement.

Click here to see how you can get a set.

Chapter 18

If your students still haven’t seen History Bill’s “Trek Across Tennessee video, click here to show it to them.

Click here and check out our GEOGRAPHY section, which contains BASIC and ADVANCED content and even a Tennessee highway map scavenger section.