Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ain't I a Woman? Pulling today's kids into history with dynamic performances (ages 9-14)

Sojourner Truth, from nps.gov
I know in my heart that we can bore our kids with history or we can engage them, show them them that it matters, that it's wrought with conflict -- and we're still wrestling with many of these same conflicts today.

Try showing these two videos, with clips of powerful actresses reading Sojourner Truth's speech, Ain't I a Woman, and see what your kids think.

History.com -- Kerry Washington reads from Sojourner Truth's speech Ain't I a Woman

Kerry Washington combines the swagger of today's girls with Sojourner Truth's strong declarations. I like the way this video clip splices together parts of Truth's speech with Washington's reflections on why it's important to learn about history.

Alfre Woodward reads from Sojourner Truth's speech Ain't I a Woman

This video clip has much more of Sojourner Truth's speech, It would be very interesting to have kids watch both of these videos and talk about what each actress brings to their performance.
What questions does Truth ask that we could still ask today? What issues are we still wrestling with?
I would follow up this with reading aloud Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (read my full review here) -- one of my all-time-favorite nonfiction books.

Both of these videos came from Anthony Arnove, co-editor, along with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People's History of the United States. See more at Arnove's You Tube channel.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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