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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   



13. Southern Renaissance

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
Activities
- Author
Activities
- Context
Activities
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Creative Response

  1. Journal: "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" by Richard Wright depicts the life of poor black southerners very differently from the way that life is depicted by Zora Neale Hurston in "The Gilded Six-Bits." Wright was, in fact, very critical of the way Hurston portrayed southern blacks; for him, Hurston's characters were too happy and lived too much in the moment with no thought for what might happen the next day. Wright worried that Hurston's white readers might get the idea that all African Americans in the South were as carefree and happy as those in Hurston's stories. Pretend you are Hurston and you have just heard Wright's critique of your work. Write a letter to Wright in which you explain and defend your creation of characters like Missie May and Joe.

  2. Doing History: Study the images of sharecropping families in the archive and read accounts of what life was like for them. Choose one image and write an account of what a typical day might have been like for the family shown in that image. How early does their day begin? What kinds of things does each person have to do to keep the family going? What are the main concerns of the family members? What are their hopes for the future?

  3. Multimedia:Study the images of southern life contained in the archive and create a short slide-show depicting the various facets of early-twentieth-century southern life. Write short captions for each image to help your audience understand the composition of southern communities in this period. What was the role of religion? Who had automobiles? What other forms of transportation did people use? How did men and women typically pass their time?



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