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A Writing Contest for the
Emancipation Proclamation in Tennessee
Level 1 (Grades 5-8): Write a letter from the future to Annie Davis, a slave.
Writing Prompt: When the Emancipation Proclamation was issued many people were confused by who it did and didn’t free.
Read the letter from Annie Davis to President Abraham Lincoln. It is not known if President Lincoln ever responded to Annie’s letter. Therefore, imagine you can reach across time and respond to Annie. Write an explanatory letter that uses her letter, the excerpt from the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 13th Amendment to help Annie understand whether or not she is free. Be sure to explain to her your perspective as a student in the 21st century and what America is like 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Level 2 (Grades 9-12): Write a letter from the future to President Abraham Lincoln.
Writing Prompt: First, review the Emancipation Proclamation and related documents. Ponder them. Analyze how the Emancipation Proclamation changed America then and how America has changed since. Form your own opinion about the Emancipation Proclamation. Did it do enough to free the slaves? Then write a letter to Abraham Lincoln giving him your opinion of the document’s effectiveness, its historical significance, and what you think is its legacy in the 21st century.