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Mission US: Flight to Freedom Launches Today

By Michelle Michalos
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
  • comments (13)

THIRTEEN announces the launch of Mission US: Flight to Freedom, the second in a series of innovative role-playing games developed to transform the way middle school students learn U.S. history. Timed to support curriculum activities connected to Black History Month in February 2012, Flight to Freedom immerses learners in the experiences of a runaway slave in the years before the Civil War. Educators and students can access the game via streaming and download through any Internet-connected computer, making it accessible in the classroom, the library, school technology lab and at home.

In Flight to Freedom players take on the role of Lucy King, a fictional 14-year-old enslaved in Kentucky in 1848. As they navigate her escape and journey to Ohio via the Underground Railroad, they discover that life in the “free” North is dangerous and difficult. Players encounter a diverse group of people – from abolitionists to slave owners – and make decisions that affect the game’s outcome. Flight to Freedom helps students learn how enslaved people’s choices – from small, everyday acts of resistance to action that sought an end to slavery – affected the lives of individuals, and ultimately the nation.

As students play Flight to Freedom, they build knowledge of the history of slavery and the abolitionist movement. Their understanding and critical perception of the historical context deepens through the accompanying curriculum of activities and by examining a robust collection of primary sources such as maps, posters, runaway ads, slave narratives and other materials. Students also interact with the game’s embedded “Smartwords” to build vocabulary and historical literacy skills.

Flight to Freedom, like all Mission US games, includes a comprehensive collection of resources and materials for educators. These materials include document-based questions, a rich collection of primary sources, activities for individual, small group, and whole class implementation, vocabulary builders, standards alignments, writing prompts and visual aids. Teachers can project content from the game using a variety of technology tools such as interactive whiteboards. The game and supporting materials are free and downloadable for use in classrooms, libraries and homes.

Mission US launched in September of 2010 with its first mission, For Crown or Colony? The next two installments of this ongoing series are planned for release in 2013 and 2014. In Mission 3, The Race for the Golden Spike, players will take on the role of workers helping to build the transcontinental railroad. In Mission 4, The Sidewalks of New York, players will explore early 20th century New York as a muckraking journalist.

Mission US is produced by THIRTEEN in association with WNET and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Sandra Sheppard, THIRTEEN’s director of Children’s and Educational Programming, is the executive-in-charge. Jill Peters serves as executive producer, with Michelle Chen, coordinating producer.

  • Susana

    Thank you for this educational material.

  • tamara

    it wont let me play the game

  • African woman

    Why is this game ok to people? If someone were to create a game about the jewish holocaust and have players pretend to escape would it too gain support? This is outrageous and should be boycotted!!!!!!!!!

  • Nick Altieri

    Why is it only when it come to Black people and our history of being horrendously enslaved for four hundred years that folks think they can make games out of… it? When we learn about other “holocausts” that have happened around the world, we read about it, hear stories about it and even see artifacts and graphic pictures. But never re-enact it. PLEASE READ ABOUT THIS interactive game where you take on the role of an enslaved 14 year old navigating her escape and journey to “freedom.”
    How stupid are you guys??? I maena REALLY?

    Again, no company and certainly no TV station would ever, ever have a simulation of a Jewish child trying to escape a concentration camp. NEVER! They know how insensitive and degrading that is. So why are we not being given or demanding the same level of respect?

  • Lucy Walker

    Okay. So when is the game featuring the little girl hiding in the attic from the big bad Nazis going to be released? Boycott this craziness and Boycott channel 13. This is some real garbage. When the Holocaust/Genocide game is released alongside the slave game, perhaps I will take this more seriously. Just don’t buy it for your children and speak out against it every time that it is mentioned. African Woman. No this game is not okay. When it is okay to sell a game that herds women and children into cattle cars and then burns them in a furnace, it will be okay.

  • Morenike Olabunmi

    This is outrageous. Enslavement of African people for hundreds of years was not a game. Our ancestors were stolen from our homeland and overworked by inhumane people who became rich. We, the descendants of those Africans have been told time and again that our history started with our ancestors’ enslavement which you know is a lie. Create a game about all the things that have been stolen and still being stolen from African people. That would be a great lesson for our children. I will not donate to THIRTEEN andI will tell my friends and family to stop doing so. This is an insult to people of African heritage and we demand that this game be withdrawn immediately.

  • Helen Tinsley

    I am appalled at the level of insensitivity, disrespect and demoralization from Channel 13. It is NOT okay to emulate the emotional terror our ancestors faced during enslavement. It is not okay to make a GAME out of our dehumanzing treatment. I used to respect Channel 13 for educational programming. Unfortunately, my 8 year-old grandson learned of this game as he was watching TV (the one and only Channel he was allowed to watch.) He was horrified, and came screaming to his mother (my daughter)…” They want us to pretend we are slaves. This “game” is an outright mockery to the historical legacy of African enslavement by Europeans. This was NOT a game. This is our life! The ramifications of slavery are still deeply woven into the American story. Africans built this country with 400 years of blood, sweat, tears, death and free labor and we STILL deal with victimization, , racism and the New Jim Crow daily! There are many European families who live on unearned wealth from money made during our enslavement and persecution; from the plantation owners to the insurance companies that insured both the ships and the “human cargo.” We will never see a game that is designed to pretend you are 14 year old boy named Eli Goldman as he tries to escape from Auschwitz. No-one will make a game out of the Jewish Holocaust, so why do you think it is okay to make mockery of Black folks history. No people on the planet have ever suffered as vicious an enslavement as African American people and we still have to fight just to be treated with dignity and respect. I will boycott Channel 13 from this day forward until this game is cancelled! I will do all in my power to promote a national boycott of Channel 13. Perhaps you need to consider having a socially conscious, educated, Afrocentric person advise you for future programs. I am available.

  • Kathy Anderson

    I will never watch channel 13 again or have anything to do with any organzation that would think it’s ok to make a game about enslaved people. Blacks were also killed during the holocaust will channel 13 being making a game out of that next? No I don’t think so because then they would have to include the jewish people. Hilter did not just kill one group of people, he was killing everybody who wasn’t pure white by his standards.

  • Floretta OBrien

    I have always respected PBS from the days when my sons were little and I then discovered this wonderful new program – Sesame Street. I’ve been an ardent fan of PBS programming in NY, especially the way it usually handled special programming, etc. You can’t imagine my chagrin when I saw the ad for this programming. My first thought was that PBS programmers had simply lost their minds. Surely the folks who present such distinguished, informative & worthwhile programs such as The Newshour, Bill Moyers, Great Performances, Downton Abbey, etc. couldn’t be so insensitive to its African-American viewers as to present the Runaway Slave Game! I understand the attempt to educate everyone on what it felt like to be a slave, but I’m still trying to figure out how a station I formerly viewed as the most intelligent & objective could come up with this game. I guess I’ll have to try to figure it out as I search for some other intelligent station(s).

  • martha


  • Candace

    Go to youtube.com,it is better than mission 1 or any of the missions at all.

  • LG

    Mission US has allowed student to develop empathy, understanding, and concern far more than any textbook or lecture ever could. After going through an entire mission, one is able to see that all the wrong’s in our history are exposed to the learner. Mission US provides motivation to learn and improve.

  • Johnson

    You people at ridiculous… You can’t just pretend Slavey never happened because its bad. You have to learn about it! What better way for kids to learn than through a game that is honestly very fun and thought provoking. This is the way it was for slaves back then and it is NOT offensive in any way to show that, it would be offensive when they didn’t show it how it was and toned it down to make it easier for people to experiance! This is how you learn!!!!