Tag Archives: readings/research

The Great Migration in American Culture, Politics, and Society

Toni Morrison’s parents migrated from Alabama to Lorraine, Ohio. Diana Ross’s mother migrated from Bessemer, Alabama to Detroit, her father from Bluefield, West Virginia. Aretha Franklin’s father migrated from Mississippi to Detroit. Jesse Owens’s parents migrated from Oakville, Alabama, to Cleveland when he was nine. Joe Louis’s mother migrated with him from Lafayette, Alabama to Detroit. Jackie Robinson’s family migrated from Cairo, Georgia, to Pasadena, California. Bill Cosby’s father migrated from Schuyler, Virginia to Philadelphia, where Cosby was born. Nat King Cole, as a young boy, migrated with his family from Montgomery, Alabama to Chicago. Condoleeza Rice’s family migrated from Birmingham, Alabama to Denver, Colorado, when she was twelve. Thelonious Monk’s parents brought him from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Harlem when he was five. Berry Gordy’s parents migrated from rural Georgia to Detroit, where Gordy was born. Oprah Winfrey’s mother migrated from Koscisusko, Mississippi, to Milwaukee, where Winfrey went to live as a young girl. Mae Jemison’s parents migrated from Decatur, Alabama, to Chicago when she was three years old. Romare Bearden’s parents carried him from Charlotte, North Carolina, to New York City. Jimi Hendrix’s maternal grandparents migrated from Virginia to Seattle. Michael Jackson’s mother was taken as a toddler from Barbour County by her parents to East Chicago, Indiana; his father migrated as a young man from Fountain Hill, Arkansas, to Chicago, just west of Gary, Indiana, where all the Jackson children were born. Prince’s father migrated from Louisiana to Minneapolis. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’s grandmother migrated from Hollyhill, South Carolina, to Harlem. Whitney Houston’s grandparents migrated from Georgia to Newark, New Jersey. The family of Mary J. Blige migrated from Savannah, Georgia, to Yonkers, New York. Queen Latifah’s grandfather migrated from Birmingham, Alabama, to Brooklyn. August Wilson’s mother migrated from North Carolina to Pittsburgh, following her own mother, who, as the playwright told it, walked most of the way.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. New York: Vintage, 2011.

The Weekly Text, 3 February 2023, Black History Month 2023 Week I: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on the Boston Massacre

It’s the first Friday of Black History Month 2023. For this and the following three Fridays, Mark’s Text Terminal will offer (as it does every year), materials for the observance of the month. That said, let me offer my usual disclaimer here: at this blog, and in my own teaching practice, every month is Black History Month. However, I work on this blog to observe this month, first proclaimed by Carter G. Woodson, because I am not in the business of second-guessing a scholar of his stature.

This week’s Text is this reading on the Boston Massacre with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Interestingly, this reading fails to mention Crispus Attucks, one of the dead of the Boston Massacre–history records him as the first to die. He was a Black man who was one of the first martyrs to the cause of independence for the 13 colonies that would become the United States. So there are a couple of critical issues here for students to mull: the first is the erasure of Crispus Attucks, whose martyrdom is a salient fact in the history of this event, and therefore to the history of this nation; the second is the bitter irony of a Black man dying for the freedom of a country whose inhabitants, just about anywhere outside Boston, at the time of his death, would have enslaved him.

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.

Ottava Rima

“Ottava Rima: In prosody a stanza of eight lines rhyming a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c. The form, which arose in Italy in the 14th century, was used by Boccaccio, Tasso, Ariosto, and many other Italian poets. In English is is usually written in iambic pentameters. It was used, for example, by Keats in ‘Isabella‘ (1820); in ‘Don Juan,’ Byron strikes the mock-heroic, almost burlesque note that has come to be associated with the form.”

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

The Weekly Text, Friday 27 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 8, James Brown Brings the Funk

This week’s Text is the eighth lesson plan of the History of Hip-Hop Unit. I’ve begun this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Civil Rights Movement. This is a full-page document with a paragraph-length reading (seven sentences, to be exact) and six comprehension questions, so depending on your idea of a do-now exercise, this one might exceed proper length. Fortunately, like nearly everything else on Mark’s Text Terminal, this document is formatted in Microsoft Word, so you can edit, adapt, and revise freely.

The main part of this lesson is this reading on James Brown and its accompanying worksheet with seven comprehension questions. Finally, here are the the lyrics to “Say It Loud, I”m Black and I’m Proud,” one of the many great songs James Brown recorded. My version of this lesson includes playing the song.

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.

The Weekly Text, Friday 20 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 7, Muddy Waters Invents Electricity: The Electric Blues after World War II

Here is the seventh lesson plan of the History of Hip-Hop. I begin this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on de facto segregation.

The mainstay of this lesson is this reading on Muddy Waters and its accompanying comprehension questions worksheet and organizer. As this lesson involves listening to some of Muddy Waters’ music, here is a document with the lyrics for two songs: the first is “I’m a Man,” a blues chestnut and proto-civil rights anthem, which Muddy apparently co-wrote with Elias McDaniel, aka Bo Diddley; the second is “Who Do You Love?”, one of Bo Diddley’s hits and one of the baddest, in my not even remotely humble opinion, rock-and-roll songs ever written or recorded (and it has been covered extensively). Finally, here is a worksheet with analytical questions for these lyrics.

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.

The Weekly Text, Friday 13 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 6, Woody Guthrie, American Troubadour

This week’s Text is lesson plan six of the History of Hip-Hop Unit. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Marian Anderson.

For the first part of this lesson, you’ll need this reading on Woody Guthrie with its attendant comprehension worksheet. For the second part, you’ll need the lyrics to “Pretty Boy Floyd,” one of Woody’s most famous songs, and this research organizer for short work on Pretty Boy Floyd which students use, along with some basic research on the internet, to understand the song and its origins.

Incidentally, and to my considerable surprise, the students to whom I have delivered this lesson were quite interested in the song, if not Woody Guthrie himself. For that reason, I have designated and so tagged this post as containing high-interest materials.

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.

The Weekly Text, Friday 6 January 2023: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 5, The Emigre Griots: The Birth of the Blues in the Southern United States

Happy New Year!

Let’s move right along to the fifth lesson plan of the History of Hip-Hop unit, this one on the birth of the blues in the southern United States, with a particular emphasis on a huge figure in global culture, the blues artist nonpareil Robert Johnson. I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Deep South. The main work of this lesson is this reading on Robert Johnson along with its accompanying comprehension worksheet. Finally, here are the lyrics to one of his most famous songs, “Sweet Home Chicago,” now a blues standard, which I play for students during the lesson.

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.

byzantine (adj)

You noted, I expect, that the header for this post contains what is generally used as a substantive and in that role is capitalized. Byzantine, of course, means, variously, “of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient city of Byzantium,”  “of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style of architecture developed in the Byzantine Empire especially in the fifth and sixth centuries featuring the dome carried on pendentives over a square and incrustation with marble veneering and with colored mosaics on grounds of gold,” and “of or relating to the churches using a traditional Greek rite and subject to Eastern canon law.”

What we have in the context clues worksheet on the adjective byzantine with a lower-case b, is a run-of-the-mill modifier. Used this way, the word means “of, relating to, or characterized by a devious and usually surreptitious manner of operation <a ~ power struggle>,” “intricately involved,” and “labyrinthine <rules of ~ complexity>.” I tend to use this word as synonym for complex and complicated. It’s a tricky word, polysemous and altering between proper and common status. It shows up enough in academic prose, I would argue, that students probably ought to learn it.

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.

Term of Art: Specific Learning Disability

“specific learning disability: A legal term that plays a central role legislation governing learning disabilities. As described in Public Law 94-142 (amended by PL 101-76), ‘specific learning disability’ means a disorder on one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. This may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, spell, or do mathematical calculations.

The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children whose conditions are primarily caused by visual hearing, or motor problems; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; or due to environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

The Weekly Text, Friday 23 December 2022: History of Hip-Hop Lesson 3, The Medieval Troubadour

If there is a lesson that can be omitted from this unit–and I realized this the minute I began its preparation–it is this third lesson, on the Medieval Troubadours. Yes they are part of the global oral tradition, but in a highly peculiar way. For instance, they used the Occitan language, which is now endangered. Their songs were born of the chivalric tradition and celebrate courtly love. This is a long way of saying that this material may not be of surpassing interest to teenagers.

In any event, I open this lesson with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of a capella singing. Here is the reading and questions on the troubadours themselves, which is the principal work of this lesson.

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.