Tag Archives: black history

The Weekly Text, 22 April 2022: A Final Assessment Lesson Plan on Prepositions

This week’s Text is this final lesson plan of the prepositions unit that I have posted piecemeal over the years. That means there is a complete unit of seven lessons on using prepositions in prose on this blog. To find them, search “prepositions lesson plans” in the little box just to your right. Your search should yield all seven lessons.

Anyway, I open this lesson with this Everyday Edit worksheet on the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The work for this lesson will extend into a second day, so here is another Everyday Edit on Sarah Chldress Polk, First Lady. If you and your students find Everyday Edits useful–I’ve had a few students over the years who have found these documents so intellectually satisfying that they asked for more of them–you can click over to Education World, where the proprietors of that site generously supply a yearlong supply of them at no cost.

Finally, here is the worksheet and organizer upon which the work of this lesson, and the entire unit, really, is inscribed.

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.

Melba Patillo Beals on Heroism and the Hand of Fate

“Yet even as I wince at the terrible risk we all took, I remember thinking at the time that it was the right decision—because it it felt as though the hand of fate was ushering us forward.”

Melba Pattillo Beals on the Integration of Little Rock Schools, Warriors Don’t Cry (1994)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

Negritude

Negritude: An attitude and aesthetic maintained by certain 20-century French-speaking African authors, which upholds traditional African culture and values. The concept originated in reaction to the stereotyping of black Africans by European colonials, and it implies a total acceptance of pride in black heritage. The term was coined by Aime Cesaire and popularized by L.S. Senghor and Leon Damas.

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

Cultural Literacy: Kwanzaa

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Kwanzaa. This is a half-page worksheet with a one-sentence reading and one comprehension question. In other words, it doesn’t exactly do justice to its topic.

However, there is a lot of open space in this document, which means there is room to ask more questions about Kwanzaa. Like almost everything else on this blog, this is a Microsoft Word document. You may download it and modify it for the needs of your students.

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.

African Languages

“African languages: Languages indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa that belongs to the Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan, Khoisan, and Afroasiatic language phyla. Africa is the most polyglot continent; estimates of the number of African languages range from 1,000 to 1,200. Many have numerous dialects. Distinctions in tone play a significant role in nearly all sub-Saharan languages. Contact between people who do not speak that same language has necessitated the development of lingua francas such as Swahili in eastern Africa, Lingala in the Congo River basin (see Bantu languages), Sango in the Central African Republic (see Adamawa-Ubangi languages), and Arabic across much of the Sahel.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Angola

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Angola. This is a full-page worksheet with a reading of four compound sentences and nine comprehension questions. This is a good general introduction to the country including its geography and its history, including the relatively recent history of the Angolan Civil War. Early on, during the 1970s the Angolan conflict was a proxy war pitting, essentially, the United States against the Soviet Union, i.e. a “war which came in from the cold,” as the late Hampshire College professor Eqbal Ahmad put it.

So, this would make a good independent practice (i.e. homework) assignment. Or, because it is formatted in Microsoft Word (as is the majority of material you’ll find on this site), you can revise it to suit the needs of your students.

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.

Bernard Coard on How the System Works

How the System Works: The Black child’s true identity is denied daily in the classroom. In so far as he is given an identity, it is a false one. He is made to feel inferior in every way. In addition to being told he is dirty and ugly and ‘sexually unreliable’, he is told by a variety of means that he is intellectually inferior. When he prepares to leave school, and even before, he is made to realise that he and ‘his kind’ are only fit for manual, menial jobs.

The West Indian child is told on first entering the school that his language is second rate, to say the least. Namely, the only way he knows how to speak, the way he has always communicated with his parents and family and friends; the language in which he has expressed all his emotions, from joy to sorrow; the language of his innermost thoughts and ideas, is ‘the wrong way to speak’.

A man’s language is part of him. It is his only vehicle for expressing his thoughts and feelings. To say that his language and that of his entire family and culture is second rate, is to accuse him of being second rate. But this is what the West Indian child is told in one manner or another on his first day in an English school.

As the weeks and months progress, the Black child discovers that all the great men of history were white—at least, those are the only ones he has been told about. His reading books show him white children and white adults exclusively. He discovers that white horses, white rocks and white unicorns are beautiful and good; but the word ‘Black’ is reserved for describing the pirates, the thieves, the ugly, the witches, etcetera. This is the conditioning effect of what psychologists call word association on people’s minds. If every reference on TV, radio, newspapers, reading books and story books in school shows ‘Black’ as being horrible and ugly, and everything ‘white’ as being pure, clean and beautiful, then people begin to think this way on racial matters.”

Excerpted from: Coard, Bernard. How the West Indian Child Is Made Educationally Sub-Normal in the British School System: 50th Anniversary Expanded Fifth Edition. Kingston, Jamaica: McDermott Publishing, 2021.

The Weekly Text, 25 February 2022, Black History Month 2022 Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Louis Armstrong

For the final Friday of Black History Month 2022. this week’s Text is a reading on Louis Armstrong along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Because I grew up with Mr. Armstrong (I was eleven years old when he died), he has always been a part of my life. He often appeared on the 1960s variety shows–which I have come to think of as the last gasp of Vaudeville–and I loved watching him perform. At a very young age I became familiar with Louis Armstrong’s music by way of my father’s tendency to play jazz programming on public radio at mealtimes.

Mr. Armstrong has lately crossed my radar screen in the form of a remark made by Troy Maxson, the principal character in August Wilson’s magisterial play, Fences. No one, I think, would dispute Louis Armstrong’s enormous and in every respect indelible influence on Jazz. Like all living things, though, Jazz evolved. Bebop, Jazz for listening rather than dancing, developed in the early 1940s in New York City. When the the recording ban of 1942-44 ended in the United States the innovators and stars of Bebop, foremost among them Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, became widely available to the listening public.

Louis Armstrong heard in Bebop’s frenetic pace and “weird notes” what he called “Chinese music.” Mr. Armstrong believed Bebop artists mostly played for one another, not the audience listening to them. In act one, scene four (page 48 of the Plume edition) of Fences, Troy’s son Lyons, a musician, invites Troy to a club to hear Lyons play. Troy declines with the comment that he doesn’t care for “Chinese music.” I very much doubt this allusion is coincidental, so there’s one obscure note in the play to point out to students reading it (at the risk of revealing my hamster wheel of a mind to the readers of this blog).

It’s also worth mentioning, should you be teaching Fences (this is my first time through this masterpiece) that Troy works as a garbage collector; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at the time of his death in Memphis, was in that city to support the cause of striking sanitation workers. This too, I suppose, I reject as a coincidence. The Pittsburgh Cycle, as Mr. Wilson’s plays are known, is also known variously as the Century Cycle and the American Century Cycle. This is drama, yes, but it is also history.

So this post is an appropriate conclusion to Black History Month 2022. Women’s History Month 2022 begins on 1 March. As always, Mark’s Text Terminal will observe this imperfect, indeed inadequate (as it too is only a month long–scarcely enough time to detail the manifold contributions of women to this world) month with posts and Weekly Texts on topics in women’s history.

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.

Claude McKay

“Claude McKay: (1889-1948) Jamaican-born poet and novelist. McKay, a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, became the first black best-selling author with his Home to Harlem (1928), the story of a black soldier returning home after World War I. Among his other novels are Banjo (1929), dealing with an international company of drifters on the waterfront in Marseilles, and Banana Bottom (1933), one of the great early Caribbean novels celebrating Caribbean popular culture from the point of view of a female protagonist. His verse was published in the collections Songs of Jamaica (1912), Constab Ballads (1912), Spring in New Hampshire and Other Poems (1920), and Harlem Shadows (1922). His autobiography, A Long Way from Home (1937), presents the odyssey of the black intellectual journeying from the Caribbean to America, Europe, and North Africa, and back to the U.S.”

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

Cultural Literacy: Liberia

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Liberia. This is a full-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading with six comprehension questions. This is probably suitable as an independent practice assignment (aka homework). My own sense is that the history of racism in the United States warrants a deeper, more critical look at the motivations of the American Colonization Society in encouraging freed slaves to migrate to Africa.

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.