W.E.B. Du Bois on Divided Consciousness

“One never feels his two-ness—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, –this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost.”

W.E.B. Du Bois, “Strivings of the Negro People” (1897)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: W.E.B. Du Bois

This Cultural Literacy Worksheet on W.E.B. Du Bois should probably be a mainstay of any Black History Month instruction.

If you find typos in this document, 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.

Chester Himes, 1909-198

American novelist. Himes began writing while serving in Ohio State Penitentiary for armed robbery. His account of the terrible 1930 Penitentiary Fire that killed over three hundred men appeared in Esquire in 1932. From his first novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945), Himes dealt consistently with the social and psychological burdens of being black in a white society. The Third Generation (1954) is an ambitious fictionalized history of oppression from the time of slavery to the mid-20th century. Beginning in 1953, Himes lived as an expatriate in Spain and France, where he met and was strongly influenced by Richard Wright. It was in France that he began his best-known series of novels—including Cotton Comes to Harlem (1965) and Run Man Run (1966)—featuring the two Harlem policemen Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson. As with Himes’s earlier work, the series is characterized by violence and grisly, sardonic humor. The Quality of Hurt (1972) and My Life of Absurdity (1976) are autobiographies.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Weekly Text, February 15, 2018

Tomorrow is the Lunar New Year, which is a holiday for a large group of people here in New York City. We have the day off, so I’m posting this week’s Text a day early so I can get it up on Twitter and the AFT’s Share My Lesson site.

If the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision isn’t something that all Americans should revere, then I don’t know what is. I’ll be the first to stipulate that it was belated. But the fact that a a working man named Oliver Brown could bring an action against the discriminatory district in which his children attended school, take it all the way to the highest court in the land, and effectively force this nation to live up to the high ideals asserted in its founding documents should inspire anyone who hears it.

So, here is an Intellectual Devotional reading on Brown v. Board of Education with a reading comprehension worksheet to use with it. This Everyday Edit on Desegregation at Central High (and you can get lots more of these from the generous proprietors of the Education World website) nicely complements this reading.

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.

“By Any Means Necessary” in Context

“That’s our motto. We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary.”

Malcolm X, Speech at rally of Organization of Afro-American Unity, New York, N.Y., 28 June 1964

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Frederick Douglass

Here, on. Wednesday morning, is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Frederick Douglass.

If you find typos in this document, 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.

He Knew Rivers, Both Literally and Metaphorically

“I’ve known rivers as ancient as the world and

older than the flow of human blood in human veins.”

Langston Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” l. 1 (1921)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.