This unit will explore the use of biography as vehicle for helping students gain a working and personal knowledge of black history.
Students will gain an historical perspective about black life (they will be able to use biographies and key in on significant events in history), they will gain a flavor for the particular time the biography was written in, and hopefully be able to make comparisons of events that have happened in their lives with events that happened in the lives of other people.
At the beginning of the course students will begin keeping a journal in which they must make daily entries. Once they begin reading autobiographies they can observe the style of various authors, and perhaps try writing in a different voice themselves by paying attention to the sentence structure and vocabulary used by others.
By studying biographies and autobiographies students will also gain some knowledge about black achievements, the particular social conditions and problems of blacks (segregation, poverty, and discrimination), and learn various political ideologies.
The autobiographies to be read will come from various periods in history. Included will be slave narratives, one of the oldest forms of black literature in this country, and also many selections by modern authors.
This unit will be for a heterogeneous group of high school students, who will be at different grade levels, however, it would be an excellent tool for students who need basic skills work. As the class reads the various selections together the student is working on his own writing skills in their journal.