In the end, the course became something much bigger than I initially imagined. Now I will be co-teaching, with a teacher from our social studies department, who will teach U.S. History, while I teach English--the students will be able to go back and forth between our two classes, and we will be able to put the classes together for some lessons and research projects. The literature class has become broader: I plan to focus on social justice and themes of equality, while still maintaining a strong focus on the Civil Rights Movement.
All year I have been reading widely, trying to find the best books and resources for my students. Here are a few of the texts I've been delving into:
Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe. This nonfiction book is perfect for my high school students.
We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson. The compelling story of how the children of Birmingham became leaders of the Civil Rights Movement is absolutely gripping. I'd love for every student to have a copy of this book.
Selected Poems by Langston Hughes. Essential reading.
Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. Pivotal texts by a leader of the Movement.
Reporting Civil Rights: Part One: American Journalism 1941-1963. I'm just getting started with this volume from the Library of America.
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin. Baldwin was one of the most brilliant writers of his time, and his incisive essays challenge and edify the reader.
This has been one of my obsessions of the last year or so.... These are just a few of the titles I've read or am reading to prepare for my class. Do you have a favorite book, new or classic, fiction or nonfiction, from or about the Civil Rights Movement?