Reading & Literacy

Author Alice Walker Joins Facebook to Talk Black History Month

By Anthony Rebora — February 05, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Guest post by Anthony Rebora

A couple of the more interesting Black History Month resources we’ve come across this year aren’t explicitly packaged for classroom use—but they certainly contain a lot of potential lesson or discussion ideas.

For example: To mark the month, the famed and controversial author Alice Walker has opened a Facebook account to talk with readers about her renowned novel The Color Purple and African-American culture and literary history in general.

In her opening posts, she provides short—but quite nuanced—personal reflections on W.E.B. Du Bois (whose book Black Reconstruction she says opened her eyes to “what really happened to the South after the Civil War”) and the poet Langston Hughes (a “gentle, almost courtly, a great storyteller [and smoker!], as well as being a humor-sensitive man.”)

Walker also confides that she hasn’t always been a big fan of Black History Month. The fact that it “attempted to compress all of black history into a single month, seemed the ultimate segregation.” Now, however, she sees it as an opportunity “to double down on our efforts to learn who we as Americans actually are, shorn of the myths too many have spun about us.”

To that end, she notes that one of her goals in getting on Facebook is to help her followers discover “how lovely it can be when books, across decades and centuries, nevertheless talk to each other.” If nothing else, the page could offer leads and inspiration to language arts and social studies teachers looking to integrate Black History Month themes into their lessons.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has launched a fascinating photo feature called “Unpublished Black History.” Every day this month, the editors will be posting at least one never before published photo from the paper’s archives highlighting key moments and figures in African-American history. Individuals featured so far include James Baldwin, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and Lena Horne.

Further, each entry includes in a short write-up exploring the context for the photo and how the story fit into the Times broader coverage (or didn’t fit in, in many instances). In some cases, the editors are also crowdsourcing readers’ feedback to fill in gaps in the paper’s knowledge about circumstances behind the photos.

So in addition to black history there’s a media literacy component to this project that could make for some interesting classroom discussions or assignments.

But let’s hear from you. Are there Black History Month resources that have caught your eye or that you’re using with success? Please share your insights and finds in the comments section.

Image: Author and human rights activist Alice Walker at a 2011 news conference. Credit: Petros Giannakouris/AP-File

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on Literacy in Education
In this Spotlight, evaluate the possible gaps your current curriculum may have and gain insights from the front-lines of teaching.
Reading & Literacy Creator of 1619 Project Launching After-School Literacy Program
The 1619 Freedom School, led by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, will make its curriculum a free online resource in 2022.
4 min read
Collage of an American Flag.
Collage: Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty)
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Whitepaper
Supporting Students With Structured Literacy
Structured Literacy is instruction that’s informed by the science of reading. Read this white paper from Lexia® Learning: Structured Lite...
Content provided by Lexia Learning