Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun provides a compelling and honest look into one family's aspirations to move to another Chicago neighborhood and the thunderous crash of a reality that raises questions about for whom the "American Dream" is accessible.
Nigerian born Chinua Achebe is one of the world's most well-known and influential contemporary writers. His first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is an early narrative about the European colonization of Africa told from the point of view of the colonized people.
Students learn the linguistic strategies Achebe uses to convey the Igbo and British missionary cultures presented in the novel and how the text combines European linguistic and literary forms with African oral traditions.
In this unit, students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures. They will learn how both types of folktales employ various animals in different ways to portray human strengths and weaknesses and to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next.
Through close readings of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, students will analyze how Hurston creates a unique literary voice by combining folklore, folk language, and traditional literary techniques. Students will examine the role that folk groups play in both their own lives and in the novel.
The American civil rights movement incorporated a variety of cultural elements in their pursuit of political and legal equality under law. This lesson will highlight the role of music as a major influence through the use of audio recordings, photographs, and primary documents. Students will participate in their own oral history, examine lyrics, and work with case studies such as the Freedom Rides to gain an appreciation of how music influenced the early 1960s.