Georgia Extension: Elizabeth Key

Georgia Extension: Elizabeth Key

These extensions expand the Self-Evident stories to Georgia. They start with a local case study, then ask students to compare and contrast what they see to the original story in order to draw deeper conclusions about Georgia history.


  • SS8H2 Analyze the colonial period of Georgia’s history.
  • SS8H2.D: Explain the transition of Georgia into a royal colony with regard to land ownership, slavery, alcohol, and government.


  1. Complete the Basic Plan for “If Knowledge Is the Key…”
  2. Transition to your Georgia case study: “Elizabeth Key’s story shows an important moment on the path to a legal system of slavery in Virginia and in America. We are going to look closely at the story and some of the laws that were passed to create legalized slavery in Georgia. What do you predict will be similar to Elizabeth Key’s story? What might be different? Why do you think this will be so?” Discuss a few ideas in pairs, small groups, or as a whole class.
  3. Students should learn about the process of legalizing slavery in Georgia and early slave laws in Georgia. Have students create a Venn diagram or T-chart to compare what they see in the stories. If students need more support, suggest they look for information about the process of making slavery part of the law, how who was a slave was defined, and the goals of the white colonists.
  4. Explore some or all of the following prompts to connect student research to the bigger issues of the Self Evident video. This could be done through discussion in pairs, small groups, as a whole class, or using a digital discussion board. Students could also do individual informal journal responses or more formal writing.
    • How do you see the legacy of Elizabeth Key in Georgia’s laws?
    • Why do you think that in Virginia, the idea of enslavement passing through the mother came from a court case while in Georgia it was part of the law from the start?
    • What are other important similarities? What are other important differences? What do you know about Georgia at this time that might help explain these differences?
    • Georgia’s path to legalized slavery was unique in the colonies. Why do you think that early colonial settlers in Georgia changed their mind about slavery? How is it similar or different to how Virginians changed the meaning of slavery and who could be enslaved a century earlier?