A collection of primary-source based theater scripts produced by Kansas Humanities Council in cooperation with Freedom’s Frontier, Shared Stories of the Civil War features stories created from historical letters, diaries, newspaper articles, and other materials. These voices from history provide insight into how 19th century Americans living in Kansas and Missouri struggled to define the meaning of freedom during the Bleeding Kansas and Civil War years.
Educators are encouraged to use these readers’ theater scripts creatively in their middle school or high school History, English, or Theater classrooms. The stories are written as reader’s theater scripts intended for use by libraries, museums, art centers, senior centers, and middle/high school or college classrooms. Historians have reviewed all scripts.
Before the Civil War Topics:
As the United States expanded into the West, the question of slavery remained unsolved.
For years, guerilla warriors roamed the Kansas-Missouri border and fought on either side of the slavery issue.
On the night of May 24, 1856, armed men led by abolitionist Brown killed five unarmed pro-slavery supporters along Pottawatomie Creek.
Captured by pro-slavery forces in 1859 and liberated by free state forces six months later. Doy’s story illustrates the tensions along the border.
Opened for settlement in 1854, the area attracted many settlers, some with political motivations, other motivated by opportunity.
Nowhere in the U.S. was the Underground Railroad more dangerous than in western Missouri and eastern Kansas in the late 1850s. This script is longer. Please allow for more time.
In 1859, delegates from the Kansas Territory gathered for a fourth and final time to approve the state’s constitution, prohibiting slavery and limiting rights for women.
During the Civil War Topics:
North or South? Union or Confederacy? The choices grew more complicated in the early months of the Civil War, especially for Missourians living along the border. Please note: This script is longer. Please allow for more time.
In 1864, Confederate General Sterling Price led 10,000 troops across Missouri. While his actions thrilled some, they terrorized others. Please note: This script is longer. Please allow for more time.
Two of the most notorious events of the Civil War along the border were Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence in 1863 and the issuance of Order Number 11 four days later.
Newspapers, and their opinions, played a crucial role in shaping public perception of events along the Kansas-Missouri border.
The First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry was the first African-American Northern regiment to see battle and the first to die at the Battle of Island Mound, Missouri. Please note: This script is longer. Please allow for more time.
“Teaching with Freedom’s Frontier Historic Places” is a series of lesson plans using national register nominated structures within the 41 counties of Freedom’s Frontier. Modeled after the National Park Service program “Teaching with Historic Places,” these lesson plans provide new ways of looking at our local history. Each location selected reflects one of the three core themes of Freedom’s Frontier: Shaping the Frontier, the Missouri Kansas Border War, and the Enduring Struggle for Freedom. Have any questions about this program, or are you interested in developing lesson plans for your own site? E-mail us at [email protected]
In these activities using primary sources related to the Paseo YMCA, students will examine the strength of community in meetings its growing needs in the face of segregation in Kansas City’s 18th and Vine neighborhood during the early years of the 20th century.
The Paseo Y.M.C.A. Made New (brochure)
A Building for Colored Men in Kansas City (brochure)
What the Y.M.C.A. is Doing to Save Boys and Young Men (flyer)
Paseo YMCA Architectural Plans 1913
Kansas City Negroes Aid Themselves /(transcription)
In these activities using primary and secondary sources, students will investigate the role of the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm in the development of Olathe and Kansas through the lenses of geography, government, history, and economics.
Johnson County 1874 Atlas Olathe Map
Johnson County 1874 Atlas Mahaffie Farm
Carrie Stearns Account
Ella Mahaffie Recollections
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop Newspaper Reference
Mahaffie Farmstead National Register of Historic Places Nomination
Pictures of Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site- July 2016
In these activities using primary and secondary sources, students will examine the use of the Wornall House as a Civil War field hospital and the impact of the war on the home front.
Battle of Westport Book
Battle of Westport Self-Guided Auto Tour Map
Bingham Martial Order
Destruction of Lawrence
General Order No. 11
Memories of Frank Wornall excerpted
Wornall House National Register Nomination
Wornall Family Portrait- Undated
Mr. Wornall- Bingham Painting 1866
Mrs. Wornall- Bingham Painting 1866
Roma Wornalll- Bingham Painting
Pictures of Wornall House – August 2016
In these activities using primary and secondary sources, students will investigate the role of Lecompton, Constitution Hall, and Kansas in the start of the Civil War and how historic events are reflected in maps created at the time of those events. Students will also investigate the criteria for a location being named to the National Register of Historic Places and how those places preserve history.
Nebraska and Kansas Map
Sectional Map of the Territory of Kansas
Lecompton Constitution Hall National Register Nomination
The Importance of Remembering History – Lecompton Kansas
Historic Lecompton- David Guth Video
Bleeding Kansas: From the Kansas-Nebraska Act to Harpers Ferry
Kansas Territory, the Election 1860, and the Coming of the Civil War: A National Perspective
Lecompton Consitution Encyclopedia Entry
Map Analysis Tool – Library of Congress
Teacher Guide for Map Analysis Tool – Library of Congress
Archives Map Analysis Worksheet – Library of Congress
This document describes an exercise developed and executed during the Management Planning Process. It will be developed into a middle school/high school lesson plan by Spring 2013.
This lesson plan includes a mock election to help students understand how and why the Bogus Legislature was elected and to allow students to debate ideas of fairness.
This Reader’s Theater piece, developed my Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site, will allow for you to follow Susan B. Anthony as she campaigns for women’s right in Kansas.
The Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area Bus on Us! grant program is designed to assist educators and schools with the cost of transportation to field trips within the heritage area that also align with the themes of Freedom’s Frontier (Missouri Kansas Border War, Shaping the Frontier, and Struggles for Freedom).
Deanell Reece Tacha, Retired Judge with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, served as the founding Chair of the Board of Trustees of Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA) from 2004-2010. To honor her work, the FFNHA board has established an award that will engage students in grades 8-11. The Award is intended to be a way to help students learn about the issues, ideas, people and events that contribute to the themes of FFNHA. The Award is to be a cash prize given to high school student(s) in grades 8-11 residing in or attending school in Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area based upon a winning scholarly/creative work that relates to the history of the area and the themes of FFNHA.
Who are the judges and how does the process work?
At the local level, a team of historians, educators, and others interested in history and education will be invited by FFNHA Partners to serve as judges. Judges will assign each entry an overall rating and consult with each other to determine the entry to be forwarded to the FFNHA Board of Trustees. The FFNHA Board of Trustees will also invite a team of historians, educators, and others interested in history and education to assist in judging submissions from the Partner process to determine the ultimate winners. The decision of all judges is final.
What are the criteria for evaluation?
60% Historical quality The student should make sure the entry is historically accurate. The entry must follow one of the principles of FFNHA that balanced perspectives of a story/situation must be respected and presented. Analysis and interpretation of the historical data is expected rather than simply a description of the historic event/person. Primary sources should be used.
20% Relationship to one or more of the FFNHA themes The entry should clearly state the relationship to one or more of the Freedom’s Frontier themes and explain how this topic influenced history and why it is important. It should put the topic in context with the social, economic, political and cultural aspects of the time period.
20% Effectiveness and clarity of the presentation Originality and creativity in presenting the topic will be important as well as grammar, spelling and organization of the entry. If the entry is a performance, display of stage presence will be judged.
Guidelines for Participation
• Theme – The entry must relate clearly to the overarching theme of FFNHA and/or the
subthemes and explain its significance in history.
• Only one entry per person each year is permitted.
• An individual entry must be the work of only one student. Groups will consist of 2 to 5
students and all students in a group must be involved.
• Contest entries must be original work
• Assistance from teachers and parents must be limited. Guidance for research, analysis and
entry organization or construction is permissible, but all conclusions and entries must be the
student’s work. For participating students with IEPs, necessary modifications as outlined in their IEP
• Presentation must be set up by the student.
• Student must supply all equipment for the competition including computers, projection
screens, DVD players including extension cords, etc.
• The entry should be able to stand on its own without any additional comments. Students should be prepared to answer questions judges may have for clarification.
• Required written materials. Students should provide a description of how the entry was researched and created and how it relates to the FFNHA theme(s) for each entry. This paper should be a page in length. An annotated bibliography is required. The bibliography should indicate whether sources were primary or secondary. The style for citations or bibliographic references should be consistent throughout all written materials.
• All entries may be documented by FFNHA and shared on their website or in any other media. Student entrants and their parents (if student is a minor) will be asked to sign a standard publicity waiver that allows FFNHA to use the students’ name, image, likeness, photograph, audio and/or video recordings, submitted work without compensation.
Guidelines for Entry Type
Papers can be fictional or non fictional. Essays, fictional diaries, fictional short stories, and poems are all examples that would fall into this entry type. Papers should be between 1,500 and 2,500 words long. This word limit does not apply to footnotes, endnotes, illustration captions, bibliography, or other supplemental material. All supplemental material must be directly related to the text. Supplemental material could include photographs, maps, charts, and graphs. Students should cite their sources in footnotes, endnotes, or internal documentation. Papers should be typed or computer printed on letter sized paper with 1-inch margins. Pages should be numbered with double-spaced 10-12 point text.
Exhibits should be no larger than 40 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and 6 feet high. Rotating exhibits must be no more than 30 inches in diameter. Any recordings or other media should not last more than 3 minutes and the devices they run on should fit within the size of the exhibit. All images or primary documents should have a brief citation. Performances should be no longer than 10 minutes. Performances must be of original scripts, written, produced, and performed by the entrants. Multi-media displays are permitted but must be run by the entrants. Costumes are permissible and should be designed or chosen by the students.
Documentary Videos should be no longer than 10 minutes. Students should produce the entries as well as provide the narration, voice-over, and dramatization. Only the students listed as entrants may participate in production. Any professional photographs, film, slides, recorded music or other works not produced by the students must be given proper credit in the video and in the bibliography. All videos must have a brief list of credits for sources and other acknowledgements.
Graphic Novels should be no longer than 8 pages, including a cover or introductory panel. Graphic novels can convey either a strict interpretation of the historical event or a fictionalized account. Fictionalized accounts should be plausible and fit within the historical context. Page size should be no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches. All original artwork and text should be completed by the students. Historical images or primary documents may be incorporated into the graphic novel, but should have a brief citation. There is no word or panel limit, but students should ensure that words are large enough to be easily read.
Other Artistic Works (Performance: Song, Dance) should meet all requirements of the performance category. Performances must be original song or dance, written, choreographed, and performed by the entrants. Songs can include some pre-recorded tracks (accompaniment). Dance can use music not created by the entrant. Students should submit with their work a 250 word essay that relates their artistic performance to the historical event.
Other Artistic Works (Visual: Painting, Sculpture, Photograph) should meet all the requirements of the exhibit category. Students should submit with their work a 250 word essay that relates their visual art to the historical event.
To apply, email [email protected].
One of the guiding principles of Freedom’s Frontier is to “consider future generations in everything we do.” The stories of Freedom’s Frontier can spark children’s imaginations and inspire in them respect for multiple perspectives. Additionally, local history education helps students to understand and care for the place where they live.
Designed to help teachers in Missouri and Kansas meet curriculum standards, the field-trip guides below list FFNHA partner sites by Grade and Standard. Teachers from outside the heritage area can also use these stories to meet National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.
More information about each site can be found on our app’s directory page.
Theme 1: Tools of Social Science Inquiry
Theme 2: Settlements
Theme 3: Expansion
Theme 4: Conflict and Crisis
Theme 1: Tools of Social Science Inquiry
Theme 2: World Geography and Cultures
Theme 1: Tools of Social Science Inquiry
Theme 2: Re-Emerging America
Theme 3: Emerging Globally
Theme 4: Great Depression and WWII
Theme 5: The American Stage
Theme 5: The Modern Era