Teacher's Guide

AmoureuxHouse.org offers teachers and students fresh ways to discover the rich history and culture of Ste. Genevieve by exploring one of its rare architectural treasures—the Amoureux House—and learning the story of a remarkable person who lived there—Pelagie. Born into slavery in 1805, this mixed-race woman's life spans a significant and exciting era in our country's history. Through lesson plans, activities, and resources, AmoureuxHouse.org provides teachers with tools to help students see the historical events of Ste. Genevieve through a different lens. The overall objectives of these educational materials are to:
  • Enliven students’ curiosity about the times in which Pelagie lived, with a special emphasis on what it meant to be an African American during that period of American history.
  • Lead students in placed-based activities, including a visit to the Amoureux House and other architectural treasures in Ste. Genevieve.
  • Teach students the universal truths of home and community through the life of Pelagie.
  • Encourage students to engage in hands-on activities that make the history, culture, and architecture of Ste. Genevieve come alive for them.
  • Help students to discover and tell their own stories.
  • Inspire students to discover and tell their own stories.
AmoureuxHouse.org offers a window into an important slice of American life. By telling Pelagie's story our hope is that students will gain new perspectives that will benefit them in years to come. Additionally, by casting a light on her life and the architectural significance of Amoureux House, we hope to bring Ste. Genevieve's rich African American history to the fore.

Curriculum/Lesson Plans

In this three-day lesson, students will use primary and secondary sources to learn about various aspects of slavery, including studying laws that applied specifically to African Americans from the mid -18th century to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. This lesson will entail students working in groups or independently to examine the following: census records of Ste. Genevieve and pre- and post-colonial Missouri laws pertaining to enslaved and free African Americans. Students will also be introduced to the main subject of this lesson plan – Pelagie Vital Amoureux, a Ste. Genevieve citizen who was born into slavery, eventually became a free woman, and raised her family in an 18th-century house which still stands today.

Three-day Lesson Plan (.pdf)

(Additional lesson plans coming soon)
US History, Social Studies, English Language Arts, French

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Primary Resources:
Baptismal record of Pelagie (.jpg) & Detail (.jpg)
Inventory of Vital Beauvais Estate 1817 (.jpg)
Emancipation Document 1832 (.jpg)
Court Records & Transcripts (.zip)
Missouri Legislation, Negroes and Mulattoes, 1847
Registry of Free Negroes and Mulattoes 1836-1861 (.jpg)
U.S. Federal Census 1850 (.pdf)
U.S. Federal Census 1860 (.pdf)
Manumission document 1860 (.pdf)
Death Registry, Ste. Genevieve Catholic Church, 1890
Pelagie’s obituary, Ste. Genevieve Herald, 1890 (.jpg)

Additional Documents
“Code Noir, The Colonial Slave Laws of French Mid-America”, by Ekberg, Kilman, Lebeau (available at the Felix Valle House State Historic Site, Ste. Genevieve, MO)
“Code Noir de La Louisiane, 1724”, (French language site)
The Black Code (Code Noir)
PowerPoint created by Jim Baker, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (.zip)
16 year old slave named Lucy sold in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, 1814

Secondary Resources:
“Francois Valle and His World”, by Carl J. Ekberg
“From French Community to Missouri Town”, by Bonnie Stepenoff
Excerpts from Henry Brackenridge’s Book: Image 1 (.jpg)Image 2 (.jpg)
Census data, 1773, 1787, 1800. (“Colonial Ste. Genevieve”, by Carl J. Ekberg)

Supplemental Resources:
University of Virginia Historical Census Browser
2010 Census Records available online
Missouri State Archives. 1837 and 1847 slave laws
PBS provides an overview of slavery in America:
Missouri Digital Heritage provides information about Missouri slave laws, and the Code Noir
WPA Slave Narratives found at the Library of Congress website
Amoureux Family Photo

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Project Information Sheet (.pdf)
Document Analysis Worksheet (.pdf)

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