The great migration: An American story

Lawrence, Jacob

Publication date: Lawrence, J. (1993). The great migration: An American story. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.
Publisher: Lawrence, J. (1993). The great migration: An American story. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Description

One of the first manifestations of dreams in this text set occurs in Jacob Lawrence’s beautifully illustrated book. In the early 1910s many Blacks fled the Southern states to the Northern cities in search of a better life and greater economic and social opportunities. Jacob Lawrence’s colorful illustrations explain the movement depicting the bleak conditions and violence that plagued many groups of migrants, and the resounding hope that carried them through. One of the most prevalent themes throughout the book is the dream of a better life for the travelers, and the hope that, despite all of the bad, something good will emerge. Lawrence’s book is important as it explains the journey to Harlem and other Northern cities. The movement into Harlem prompted the cultural and creative uprising at the heart of the text set.

Readability

Students will be very interested in reading the text, primarily because the text is not the focus of the book. Students will see in vivid color the cultural struggle to find a better life. This book would be especially engaging for students who enjoy art, color, and vivid portraits. Though the book is intended for below grade or struggling readers, Lawrence’s portrayal of the migration would be appropriate for grade level and above grade level readers as well. The book contains mostly Lawrence’s paintings, which depict hard images of violence and segregation, yet the information is relevant for all age groups. The information is presented in a way that is not “dumbed-down.”

Use in Class

Since many History classes touch on the topic of the migration, we will complete a KWL, so students can relate their previous knowledge of the Great Migration and of migration in general to a new context. The KWL will also ensure that students comprehend the material. I will read this book aloud to my students. After the reading, we will discuss important concepts and issues that the book raises.

Unit Focus

English

Submitted by Lindsey Wells

Up From Slavery

Washington, Booker

Publication date: Washington, Booker T. (1998). Up From Slavery. New York: Doubleday.
Publisher: Washington, Booker T. (1998). Up From Slavery. New York: Doubleday.

Description

Up From Slavery is Booker T. Washington’s autobiography and record of philosophical beliefs in regards to race and segregation in the Unites States. Washington recounts his life, rising from a slave child to the most visible African-American figure of the post-Reconstruction era. He stressed advancement through education and business acumen, and took a separate but equal stance in regards to race. While he remained extremely popular and influential, his views earned him scorn from many black intellectuals, including W.E.B. Du Bois. Up From Slavery specifically relates to the key knowledge requirements of the SOL.

Readability

Up From Slavery scores a 14 on the Flesch-Kincaid Readability scale. Conceptually, the reading does not pose a problem. Washington writes very eloquently, but some of the sentences are rather long. This may partly explain for the high score. The vocabulary is not too difficult. It is my hope that using cooperative learning groups will act as scaffolding for weaker 11th grade readers.

Use in Class

The text will be used in combination with works by Du Bois and on Ida B. Wells in a Jigsaw activity in class. Specifically, the chapter on his Atlanta Exposition Address will be focused on for the activity. Three groups of six students will examine and develop fundamental understandings and concepts from each reading. Then six groups of three students from each original group will discuss their findings to each other. The cooperative groups will then lead a class discussion in which I will also participate. This will take two class periods. The activity in itself is a complete PAR activity. In relation to the content this will be used in the Preparation phase.

The Jigsaw activity will hopefully engage my most reluctant learners to both learn the content and comprehend the reading. By comparing and contrasting Washington’s beliefs with others’, students may be able to identify with a particular view. It will facilitate discussion and no doubt some debate. This activity and the readings in it will provide a background for the content area that will augment the official text. It will activate my students’ schema for the rest of the content area reading to follow.

Unit Focus

Submitted by Michael Hasenfus