Making the Wright Connection

An Online Community for the Study of Richard Wright

Tom Niermann’s Course on Richard Wright

Posted on February 11, 2011 | No Comments

“This past January I taught an inter-term course using Black Boy as the primary text. The subject of the course was African American History in Kansas City. Although Wright never spent any time in KC his experience migrating from the south to urban areas in the north mirrored many of the experiences of blacks in Kansas City. While reading the book I had students make comparisons between the text and what we studied about Kansas City up to World War II. For my students (most of whom were white) the class offered them a picture of Kansas City and American history that they had never had before. In addition to reading Black Boy I had the students research the images from the Farm Security Adminstration archive that has been digitized and posted online by the Library of Congress. I used one of the ideas shared at our summer session and had the students match photos from the FSA with passages from Black Boy. Students then altered the images using Photoshop to emphasize particulary points. I’ve attached some of the students projects. Coming up next week in my survey class of American history, I’m assigning a short story from Wright’s Uncle Tom’s Children when we discuss the Great Depression. I’m looking forward to it.”


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