The Hurston & Hughes Literary Circle teen have been engaging in some pretty sophisticated literary analysis.
Over the first two weeks of the summer, they have close read poetry and made connections to their current lives as middle and high schoolers. As Black students in predominately White schools, they have encountered their share of assumptions, prejudices, and biases. Literature helps them form language around their experiences as well as empowers them to include writers like Langston Hughes, Frances E.W. Harper, Henry Highland Garnett, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, and Chinua Achebe, among others, in their repertoire of important thought leaders.
As they prepare to celebrate Juneteenth (a day later) and engage in their week of essays, they are grappling with issues of emancipation set against the concepts of what it means to have liberty and freedom. Reading Henry Highland Garnett’s 1843 address has many nuances that resonate with a 21st century America that has experienced an uptick in racial attacks since the election of the 45th President. Believing that history still teaches, they will discuss two essays and a poem.
Frederick Douglass wrote that once one knows how to read, one is forever free. It is in that quest to be free that we work with the teens to engage in critical thinking, connect with broader social issues, form reflective thoughts around culture, and make connections across multiple platforms.
There is still time to join us. We will be at Miss M’s Candy Boutique in the Grand Arts Center. We will explore some sweet treats as we practice close reading, annotating, and supporting an argument.
Last week, we read Kindred, next week, we are reading Beloved (High School) and Noughts & Crosses (middle school)