All God's Children Have Wings

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 02 2015

Please Help My Students See Selma!

“Martin Luther King, Jr.? Miss, who’s that?” The question stopped me in my tracks and caused me to turn around with an uncontrollable look of disbelief.  I’m not a stranger to the disproportionate representation of black faces and history in many American classrooms, but Dr. King? Surely everyone in America knows him, even if they only know the sterilized narrative of his life and efforts. As I talked with my students throughout the day, I learned that this student was not alone in their lacking knowledge of Dr. King. It broke my heart. This man, Coretta Scott-King—his wife—and his children sacrificed everything to bring into fruition a dream that could only be believed in through a combination of desperation and unshakeable faith. Why does this matter to you? I’m asking for your help and like Dr. King, I am desperate, but have unshakeable faith that you can help. In January, Ava Duvernay’s film, Selma, opened in theaters. It is a beautifully crafted film and encourages critical thinking. In my classroom, we learn about tone and mood in literature, alliteration in poetry, figurative language and all the standards of any other English class. However, we do so by studying texts of different time periods and social movements. Currently, we are learning about the Civil Rights Movement—its origins, major figures, complexities, downfall and the literature born out of the Movement. Selma perfectly aligns to our thematic unit and seeing it will be an amazing opportunity for my students. They will be introduced to visual literacy, have the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills, engage in debates following the film, and use the film as a secondary text to add richness to their discussion and analyses of class texts and concepts. Most importantly, my students will get to know Dr. King, Ralph David Abernathy, Diane Nash, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, and many others who devoted, and sometimes sacrificed, their lives so that we might live life more abundantly. My students are not financially privileged and my school and district are sorely underfunded. To make this dream happen, I ask that you donate whatever is on your heart to help my students see this film. They are so excited about the opportunity and ask me every day are we getting closer. In a time when students are increasingly losing emotional investment in their education, this is the most beautiful thing to see. Thank you in advance. God bless. #SelmaforStudents #Students4Selma #WeHaveaDream

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February 2015
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