Fighting for Freedom

6, 7, 8

We learn about the brave work of a Quaker, Laura Smith Haviland, who used her ties and talent to lead anti-slavery work before, during, and after the Civil War. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define vocabulary.
  • connect the work of Laura Smith Haviland to philanthropy and the Core Democratic Values.
  • description of Laura Smith Haviland in the handout below and online (for facilitator)
Teacher Preparation 

Make a vocabulary resource on Flipgrid or Google Docs:

  • Underground Railroad
  • Confederacy
  • Union
  • humanitarian
  • philanthropist
  • Civil War
  • Fugitive Slave Law
  • reformers
  • freedmen
  • philanthropy
  • Quakers
  • Core Democratic Values
  • liberty
  • equality
  • diversity
  • justice
  • pursuit of happiness
  • popular sovereignty
  • common good
  • Underground Railroad, Amazon Prime Video
  • Fugate, Sandy. For the Benefit of All: A History of Philanthropy in Michigan. Battle Creek: W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 1997. ISBN 1-891445-00-6


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Define the word talent as "a natural ability" and share a talent you have and how you discovered that talent. For example, you may have a talent for drawing, speaking, gardening, or listening. 

    Say, "There are many times and circumstances in our history and today when individuals use their talents to uplift or help others." Talk about examples of when young people and their friends and family use their talents for good. Today we are going to learn about one person who shared their talents for good at the time of the Civil War in the U.S.

  2. Give to youth the vocabulary words (above) related to today's reading. They look up and define the words, using an application such as Flipgrid. They may work in groups of two or three to define some of this list, then share their definitions with the whole group on Flipgrid. Note: Learning to Give has a philanthropy vocabulary page. 

  3. Determine what the youth already know about the Civil War and Slavery of the mid 1800s. Give a summary, as needed. 

  4. Read about Laura Smith Haviland and discuss her talents and brave work, using the following questions as a guide.

    • Why do Quakers take action against slavery?
    • In what way is Laura Smith Haviland a philanthropist (giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good)?
    • What were her talents? 
    • How are her efforts and the work of the Underground Railroad related to the Core Democratic Values?
    • How do our vocabulary words relate to her work and the time around the Civil War? 
    • Why was it brave to do what she did?
    • What are some brave things people do today to work toward equity for all?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.10 Give historic and contemporary examples of a voluntary action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
    2. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe how civil society organizations developed during major historical events.