The Weekly Text, February 2, 2018, Black History Month 2018 Week I: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls

As I’ve said before, perhaps ad nauseum on this blog, every month is Black History Month in my classroom. I’ve always had mixed feelings about a single month set aside for Black History, mainly because it has always struck me as a form of segregation; I say we integrate Black History into every lesson we teach, particular when we teach the history of the United States. That said, I am decidedly circumspect in second guessing a scholar of Carter G. Woodson’s stature; Dr. Woodson launched “Negro History Month” in February of 1926. This is the month in which we now justly and appropriately celebrate the many and diverse achievements of Americans of African descent.

The first Weekly Text for Black History Month is a relatively high interest reading on Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls with an accompanying reading comprehension worksheet. Rappers come and go, and I’m old enough to remember a time when rap wasn’t part of the cultural landscape of this country. Tupac and Biggie, I think, are icons of the genre, and martyrs to it as well, I suppose. While my students look at me blankly when I ask them if they’ve heard of Kool Moe Dee, (I really liked How Ya Like Me Now and was pleased to hear it shuffle up at the gym recently) they’ve all heard of Biggie and Tupac. You might find useful this Everyday Edit on African-American History Month (courtesy, as always, of the good people at Education World, a world-class hub for instructional material).

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Addendum, February 6, 2018: While waiting for the train in the Bowling Green station late yesterday afternoon, I noticed a poster advertising the USA Network’s upcoming series on the investigations into the murders of Tupac and Biggie. This Text, as it turns out, is timely.

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