SEMESTER 2 - Weeks 20-25


Read: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou-- pp. 53-59

1. What does Momma do and/or say that embarrasses Marguerite?
2. Why do you think Margeurite admires Mrs. Flowers so much?
3. What was Mrs. Flowers first “lesson in living” that she presented to Marguerite?
4. What do you think “mother wit” is?

Watch: A Girl Like Me

About her video, director Kiri Harris says, "For my high-school literature class I was constructing an anthology with a wide range of different stories that I believed reflected the black girl’s experience. For the different chapters, I conducted interviews with a variety of black girls in my high school, and a number of issues surfaced concerning the standards of beauty imposed on today’s black girls and how this affects their self-image."

Reflect: What is the most difficult aspect for you of being a teenager? Explain your answer and provide examples.


Introduction: The Black Panther Party -- Bobby Seale explains the party's platform and how he and Huey Newton chose the name.

Eyes of the Prize: The Time Has Come -- The Black Panther Party Chicago Chapter led by Fred Hampton and Mark Clark

Notetaking: As you watch the video, the following are mentioned. Write them down and leave four or five lines between each item, and then as they are mentioned take notes about them.

The Black Panther Party
Bobby Seale / Bobby Rush / Fred Hampton
Breakfast for Children Program
FBI spies on and subverts the Black Panthers
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover declaration about the Black Panther Party
Assassination Fred Hampton and Mark Clark – December 4, 1969
George Jackson

Tuesday – The Time Has Come: Attica
George Jackson

Reflect: Black Power was an aspect of both Dr. King's and Malcom X'sphilosophies. Dr. King practiced civil disobedience and passive resistance, while Malcolm and later, The Black Panthers, practiced the pursuit of rights "by any means necessary." Listen to speeches by both and discuss why both leaders impacted on so many people. Which would you have chosen to follow and why?

Wednesday and Thursday
Video episode of Boston Public about the "N" word
Read: Episode synopsis
Boston Public episode about using the "N" word.
Here is an article about the book and story: The N-word from Indy
Reflect: Have you ever been called out of your name? How did it make you feel?

Objective: Focus during silent reading for meaning and character development. Although this story has nothing to do with African American culture, the main character, a teenager, has an inner conflict that many of you should be able to relate to.

Read: "The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant" on pp. 41-47 in The Language of Literature anthology. Then in complete sentences, answer questions 2, 3, and 6 (see below) on p. 48, and hand in at the end of the period.

2. At the end of the story, the narrator says he "never made the same mistake again. "What has he learned from his experience?
  • what he gives up for Sheila Mant
  • how his date with Sheila ends
  • what he says claimed him thereafter

3. Considering the situation, do you think the narrator did the right thing in cutting the line? Explain your answer.

Reflect: To make himself acceptable to Sheila, the boy conceals an important interest of his. When, if ever, do you think it is right to put aside part of your own personality--such as your interests--for the sake of a relationship? Give examples to support your view.

WEEKS 22-25

Drama: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

It's 1959 in a crowded apartment on Chicago's Southside. "The play concerns the working-class Younger family, who dream of leaving behind their dilapidated tenement apartment where they have lived for decades."

Review: A Raisin in the Sun Objectives

Let's begin this unit by reading A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

What do you notice about Line 3 in the poem? Speculate about why Lorraine Hansberry chose this line for the title of her play?
Then read the Harlem: A Dream Deferred -- Analysis and Commentary

Next, we will read the play aloud in class, enacting some of the scenes to make the reading feel more authentic. Remember, this family lived in Chicago, which even though it did not have Jim Crow laws, there still were segregated neighborhoods and restrictive covenants to keep black people from moving into white neighborhoods.

A Raisin in the Sun is the famous play by Lorraine Hansberry, is being adapted as a three-hour ABC TV movie, Monday, Feb. 25 starring and executive produced by Sean Combs, who has reunited the recent Broadway cast.

Watch this trailer for the new production of Raisin in the Sun:

A Raisin in the Sun - Trailer from garylatman on Vimeo.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry -- Gradesaver Notes

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry -- CliffsNotes

After reading the play aloud in class, go to the above links and read the summaries and analysis of each Act and Scene. Read about the various themes and analysis of the characters, as well.

After reading Act 1:

Take the Quiz

Watch Sidney Portier as Walter Lee struggles with the decision about whether to accept Mr. Linder and the homeowner association's offer:

Walter Lee's Decision from garylatman on Vimeo.

Activity Sheet for A Raisin in the Sun:

Take: Raisin in the Sun -- Final Exam

A concluding video for this Unit:

The Way It Is (Remix) -- My Black America

My Black America from garylatman on Vimeo.