Mississippi History Now Mississippi Historical SocietySite ToolsSponsorsEditorial Advisory Staff
Back Home Lesson Plan

Joseph Emory Davis: A Mississippi Planter Patriarch - Lesson Plan

Overview

In 1811, Joseph Emory Davis moved from Kentucky to Mississippi, along with his parents, his younger brother Jefferson Davis and the rest of the family. By 1860, Joseph Davis was among the ten wealthiest Mississippians, owning about 5,000 acres near Vicksburg and securing his place among the South’s elite planters. As family patriarch, not only did Joseph Emory Davis serve as a mentor to his younger brother Jefferson Davis, who became the only president of the Confederacy, he also mentored many of his slaves, including members of the Montgomery family.

Curricular Connections

Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 2, and 4

Common Core Standards

RH.1-2; WHST.2, 4-6

Teaching Level

Grades 7 through 12

Materials/Equipment

  • Mississippi History NOW article, “Joseph Emory Davis: A Mississippi Planter Patriarch”
  • Note-taking chart and Resume` of Joseph Emory Davis
  • Multipurpose paper
  • Computer
  • Internet access

Objectives

The students will:

  1. Create a historical resume`.
  2. Evaluate the leadership characteristics of a historical figure.

Opening the Lesson

The teacher will ask the students the following questions:

  1. What is a mentor?
  2. What is a patriarch?
  3. Do you have someone in your life that has served as a mentor to you?
  4. How have you benefited from having a mentor?
  5. Is there someone who would be considered the patriarch of your family?

The teacher will explain to the students that over the next several days they will learn about Joseph Emory Davis. The teacher will explain that as the family patriarch, not only did Joseph Davis serve as a mentor to his younger brother Jefferson, former president of the Confederacy, but he also mentored many of his slaves, including the Montgomery family.

Developing the Lesson

  1. The teacher will distribute to the students a copy of the Mississippi History NOW article, “Joseph Emory Davis: A Mississippi Planter Patriarch.” The students will be encouraged to annotate the article as they read.
  2. Once the students complete the reading, the teacher will distribute to the students a copy of the note-taking chart found at the end of the lesson plan. The students will be instructed to record information from the article onto the chart. Students should also list the paragraph number of where they found the information in the article. The teacher may want to guide the students through selecting an example for one or each category before the students work with a partner to complete their charts.
  3. Once the students complete the charts, the teacher will tell the students that they will now use the information to create a resume` for Joseph Emory Davis. Students can work independently or with a partner to create the resume`. Students should use a computer to complete the assignment.
  4. Before the students begin the resume` assignment, the teacher can share with the students an example of a resume`, which can easily be located online. An example of a format for the resume` can also be found at the end of the lesson plan.
  5. For the next portion of the lesson, the teacher will lead a class discussion on the life of Joseph Emory Davis. The teacher will ask for student volunteers to share information from their resume` assignments in order to facilitate the class discussion.

Closing the Lesson

The teacher will remind the students that Joseph Emory Davis served as a mentor and patriarch to his younger brother Jefferson Davis as well as many of his slaves, including the Montgomery family. In several paragraphs, the teacher will instruct the students to respond to the question listed below.

Question: Based on your study of Joseph Emory Davis, how did he mentor for his younger brother Jefferson? How did he assist Ben Montgomery?

Assessing Student Learning

  • Class participation
  • Article worksheet
  • Note taking chart
  • Resume’
  • Written Assignment

Enrichment

Compare and contrast the lives of Joseph Emory Davis and his brother Jefferson Davis.

Follow up this lesson with other Mississippi History NOW articles

Jefferson Davis 1808-1889

Beauvoir

Isaiah T. Montgomery, 1847-1924 Part I

Isaiah T. Montgomery, 1847-1924 Part II

Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey: A Woman of Uncommon Mind

Karla Smith is the Social Studies Department Chair at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jefferson Davis Campus.

ADDITIONAL LESSON PLANS ON MISSISSIPPI HISTORY:

http://mdah.state.ms.us/new/learn/classroom-materials/lesson-plans-and-teaching-units/

Back Home Back to Top Return to Feature

Mississippi Historical Society © 2000–2017. All rights reserved.