Making the Wright Connection

An Online Community for the Study of Richard Wright

Teacher Larry Hoffner’s Students Combine Art and Literature

Posted on March 3, 2011 | No Comments

Larry Hoffner, Summer 2010 Wright Connection Institute participant teaches at LaGuardia High School, NYC… the “Fame” school.

Larry HoffnerThis year I didn’t teach Wright, but I had a student-teacher whom I worked with who taught Native Son. It was a very rewarding experience. He was young and very enthusiastic. The students really took to the text and the discussions were rich a rewarding. Since we are an art school, we had the students create murals to decorate our hallways. The plan was to create the scene where Bigger decapitates Mary, but that idea was rejected for obvious reasons. The scene that was produced is where Bigger is killing the rat. I photographed and attached some of the pictures. What I found most profound during the experience was the process. While the students were creating these pieces, they discussed the text in a rather informal and perceptive manner. Perhaps all literature can be taught and learned through this type of interactive and creative process. It made learning fun!

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Teacher Matt Presser Helps Students Make (Wright) Connections

Posted on March 1, 2011 | No Comments

Matt Presser, Summer 2010 Wright Connection Institute participant, on how he and his students make connections:

Matt PresserIn Black Boy, Richard Wright describes how an early experience with a book by H.L. Mencken makes him “look of the world different.” Wright’s experience is what I have in mind when I present a work of literature to my students. But how does one choose just one piece from the canon when my time with students lasts just 180 short days?

To broaden my students’ vision of literature, I invited them to a read-in I organized at a local branch of the library recently. Students connected with community members, who ranged in age from 9 to 74, and selected from a variety of important historical works to read aloud. At the table of readings, Richard Wright sat next to Phyllis Wheatley, who sat next to W.E.B. DuBois and Jay-Z. Connecting students to these writers — as well as to the threads of their history and the wider community — propelled forward my effort to involve students in making valuable connections like those I made this summer.

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Teaching the Works of Richard Wright in his Native State

Posted on March 1, 2011 | No Comments

Shelia Bonner, Language Arts teacher at Ridgeland High School in Mississipi, has the following to say about how she is teaching Wright:

Shelia Bonner“The Making the Wright Connection Institute has served to be quite valuable to my classroom activities. I have used the works of Richard Wright in several courses. Because many of my students have never read anything by Richard Wright, my goal is to help students connect to the writings of a native son of Mississippi. I have assigned students to read “A Certain Place: Mississippi a Climate for Genius,” the first chapter of Margaret Walker Alexander’s Daemonic Genius: A Portrait of the Man, A Critical Look at His Work. Students then write a response to a prompt explaining how Mississippi is creating a genius within them. During the 2010 fall semester, I used Wright’s “The Long Black Song” in my Composition II class. I chose this short story because it stirred quite a spirited discussion at KU. I felt that it would also stir as much discussion in the classroom setting; students were assigned to first read Wright’s short story. As a class we also watched the film The Long Black Song. In turn, students wrote a Justify an Evaluation Essay. Students were asked to respond to the following writing prompt:

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Remembering Hazel Rowley

Posted on March 1, 2011 | No Comments

Hazel Rowley passed away on Tuesday, March 1st in New York, on the eve of a tour to promote her newest book Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage.  Those wishing more information on her death can find notices on the websites of The Australian, The New York Timesand The Washington Post

While Hazel’s works in print will allow future generations continued access to her scholarship, her inimitable contributions as a teacher are now lost.  We were fortunate to have Hazel among the scholars during this summer’s Wright Connection institute.  We provide a brief video from one of her seminars below.

Hazel Rowley.mp4

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