Tag Archives: women’s history

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin: (1942-2018) U.S. popular singer. Her family moved from Memphis to Detroit when she was 2. Her father, C.L. Franklin, was a well-known revivalist preacher; his church and home were visited by such luminaries as Aretha’s aunt Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, and Dinah Washington. She made her first recording at 12. At first she performed only on the gospel and ‘chitlin’ circuits, but in 1967 her powerful and fervent voice took the country by storm in a string of songs including “I Never Loved a Man,” “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” and “Natural Woman.” Her later albums include Amazing Grace (1972), Sparkle (1976), Who’s Zoomin’ Who (1985), and One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism (1989). She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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

Bessie Smith

“Bessie Smith: (originally Elizabeth) U.S. blues and jazz singer, one of the most distinctive stylists of classic blues and the most successful black entertainer of her time. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Smith sang popular songs as well as blues on the minstrel and vaudeville stage. She began recording in 1923 and appeared in the 1929 film St. Louis Blues. Her interpretations represent the fully realized tradition of the rural folk tradition of the blues to its urbane structure and expressiveness. A bold, supremely confident artist with a powerful voice and precise diction, she became known as ‘Empress of the Blues.’ She died from injuries sustained in a car crash, having apparently been refused treatment for reasons of racial prejudice.”

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

Rotten Reviews: Doris Grumbach on Mary McCarthy

“On television I see Mary McCarthy taking about her Vassar friend, the poet Elizabeth Bishop. I notice Mary’s instant icy smile, so often present when I interviewed her in Paris in 1966 for a book. George Grosz saw the same smile on Lenin’s face. ‘It doesn’t mean a smile,’ he said. I am fascinated by it. It represents, I think, an unsuccessful attempt to soften a harsh, bluntly stated judgement. Last summer, twenty-two years after the book I wrote about her, which she so disliked, appeared, I encountered Mary for the first time in an outdoor market in Blue Hill.

 ‘Hello Mary,’ I said. ‘Do you remember me?’

 Her smile flashed and then, like a worn-out bulb, disappeared instantly.

 ‘Unfortunately,’ she said.

 It didn’t mean a smile.”

 Doris Grumbach

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.   

Takamura Kotaro

“Takamura Kotaro: (1883-1956): Japanese poet and sculptor. Son of the noted traditionalist sculptor Takamura Koun (1852-1934), Takamura was a pioneering modernist in both art and literature, having spent years studying in Europe and the U.S. His sculpture reflected a passion for the work of Rodin, but his is best known as a poet. His 1914 collection Dotei (Journey) ranks as Japan’s first anthology of free verse in the colloquial language, anticipating the work of Hagiwara Sakutaro. Takamura’s most celebrated work is Chieko-sho (1941; tr Chieko’s Sky, 1978), a stunning verse record of the slow descent into madness of his wife, the painter Naganuma Chieko (1886-1838). Takamura’s reputation was tarnished by his unabashedly patriotic wartime poetry.”

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

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.

Willa Cather on Trees

“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. I feel as if this tree knows everything I ever think of when I site here. When I come back to it, I never have to remind it of anything; I begin where I left off.”

O Pioneers! Pt. 2 ch. 8 (1913)

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

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.

Cultural Literacy: Willa Cather

She’s not much read today (though I have loved the books of hers I’ve read), but I think this Cultural Literacy worksheet on novelist Willa Cather ought to have some currency in our secondary classrooms in the United States (at least!). This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of one compound sentence with two comprehension questions.

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.

Book of Answers: Joan Didion

“To what poem is Joan Didion referring in the title of her book Slouching Toward Bethlehem (1968)? She refers to the last line of ‘The Second Coming‘ (1921) by William Butler Yeats: ‘And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/Slouches toward Bethlehem.'”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Cultural Literacy: Greta Garbo

If you can use it, which I suppose is another way of saying if you have a student with an interest in her, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Greta Garbo. This is a half-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. A simple, but effective introduction to this famously reclusive woman.

May I presume to recommend a viewing of Ninotchka? I doubt anyone would be sorry he or she watched this fine film.

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.