Unit 12
7 • Diversity and inclusion

The secret road to freedom

How did a chain of diverse people save thousands of slaves from the Deep South?

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Paul Collins, 2005.
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Paul Collins, 2005.

Get ready!

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Find a title for each vocabulary box below.
  • people
  • places
  • oppression
  • negative adjectives
  • commitment
  • freedom



a. Look at the painting above. Who are these people?

b. How does it make you feel? Why?

Slavery, still from 
the film Queimada, 
Slavery, still from the film Queimada, 1969.

Brainstorming question

What was the Underground Railroad?
Who were the people involved?

IDIOM of the week!

Sold down the river

Sold down the river

In the 19th century, a male slave could be “sold down the river”, as a punishment. He was sold at auction to go and work in a cotton plantation along the southern part of the Mississippi River. Not only was he uprooted from his family, but he also risked his life working in harsh conditions with often cruel overseers. Today, it would rather mean “be betrayed” or “punished”.

Step 3

Pay a tribute to a member of the Underground Railroad.
Activity 4
Activity 5


  • cautious /ˈkɔːʃəs/ / careful (adj.)
  • injured /ˈɪndʒəd/ (adj.)
  • fugitive (n.)
  • hide / conceal (v.)
  • lean on / bend down (v.)

Step 2

Report a discussion with a slaveholder.
Activity 3

Runaway slaves

Runaway slaves

  • abolitionist (n.)
  • bounty /ˈbaʊntɪ/ hunters (n.)
  • emancipated slave (n.)
  • freedom seeker (n.)
  • overseer (n.) → the person who watches the slaves
  • Quaker (n.)
  • slave holder (n.)

  • slave state / free state (exp.)
  • auction market (n.) → place where slaves were bought and sold
  • confederacy / Union (n.)
  • cotton fields / plantations (n.)
  • new territories (in the West) (n.)
  • shelter / safe place (n.)

  • dedicated (adj.)
  • outraged /ˈaʊtrεɪdʒd/ (adj.)
  • relieved /rɪˈliːvd/ (adj.)
  • struck by fear (adj.)
  • care for (v.)
  • commit oneself to (v.)

  • caught /ˈkɔːt/ (adj.)
  • convicted (adj.) → guilty of a crime
  • fined /ˈfaɪnd/ (adj.) → condemned to pay money for an offense
  • jailed / imprisoned (adj.)
  • risky (adj.)
  • rifle /ˈraɪfəl/ / gun (n.)

  • abused (adj.)
  • beaten / lynched (adj.)
  • enchained (adj.)
  • exploited (adj.)
  • locked (adj.)
  • overworked (adj.)
  • tortured (adj.)
  • undernourished (adj.)
  • whipped /wɪpt/ (adj.)

  • on the run (exp.)
  • advocate / defender (n.)
  • clandestine /ˌklænˈdɛstɪn/ (n.)
  • get away / escape (v.)
  • runaway (n.) → run away (v.)
  • safe (adj.) → safety (n.)
  • rely /rɪˈlaɪ/ on (v.)

Your final project

You joined the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS). Encourage more people to commit to the cause.

On your way to the task - Step 1

Write an encoded song.
Activity 1
Activity 2
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Discuss the brainstorming questions.
Workbook p. 93

a. Watch the video. Be ready to sum it up.

b. Search the Internet to learn more about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

Read the idiom of the week below. With the photo and the note, rephrase it and find examples.

Retrouvez une banque d'audios et de vidéos authentiques en lien avec cette thématique.

Let's learn!

Phonology challenge

  • Select a sound (like /εɪ/ as in “slave”, or /iː/ as in “green”).
  • In pairs, pick all the words from the mind map containing this sound.

  • Dawn of Day: Stories from the Underground Railroad
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