Tag Archives: Black History

Bessie Smith

It’s finally starting to feel like spring in New England, for which I am grateful. In celebration of spring, and of Women’s History Month 2019, here is a reading on Bessie Smith, the justly named “Empress of the Blues,”  with an accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

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.

Beloved

(1987) A novel by Toni Morrison, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It is the story of a runaway slave whose desperation forces her to slash her infant daughter’s throat with a handsaw rather than see the child in chains. But eighteen years after the child’s death, a young woman appears and the characters believe she is the slain infant returned to earth. Set in the pre- and post-Civil War era outside Cincinnati, Beloved is developed through a series of flashbacks to the Sweet Home Plantation. The main characters are Sethe, the heroine who is literally haunted by the baby daughter she killed; Beloved, the ghost of Sethe’s child; Paul D., a former slave who knew Sethe when they were together at Sweet Home; and Denver, one of Sethe’s other three children.”

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

Everyday Edit: Gwendolyn Brooks

Moving right along with Women’s History Month 2019, here is an Everyday Edit worksheet on Gwendolyn Brooks (and if you like this, the good folks at Education World will give you a yearlong supply of them).

Also, here is a PDF of Ms. Brooks’ linguistically elegant poem “We Real Cool.”

 

Zora Neale Hurston on Melancholy

“I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”

Zora Neale Hurston

World Tomorrow “How It Feels to be Colored Me”

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

The Weekly Text, March 1, 2019

Today begins Women’s History Month 2019. That means every blog post on Mark’s Text Terminal during the month of March will be related in some way to the contributions of women to the world.

This reading on Ida B. Wells, the legendary journalist and anti-lynching activist, and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet serve as a nice link between Black History Month and Women’s History Month. Here, also, is flexible ancillary worksheet that I’ve just begun to write for these readings. I’m not sure where exactly (or even approximately, for that matter) I want to take these worksheets, but the basic idea is to move students along by asking them deeper, more inferential and analytical questions.

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.

Black History Month 2019: Coda

Earlier this week, NBC News ran this surprisingly frank and cogent piece on Black History Month. Under any circumstances, and particularly those in which I’ve spent the past 16 years working, I’ve never found satisfying the idea of a single month for Black History; as this feature rightly observes, in the not particularly humble opinion of Mark’s Text Terminal, Black History is United States History.

Thurgood Marshall on the Right to Intellectual Freedom

“If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.”

Thurgood Marshall

Stanley v. Georgia (1969)

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