Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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the expanding canon teaching multicultural literature
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Reader Response: Pat Mora and James Welch Reader Response: Keith Gilyard and Mourning Dove Inquiry: Rudolfo Anaya and James Baldwin Inquiry: Tomás Rivera and Esmeralda Santiago Cultural Studies: Ishmael Reed and Graciela Limón Cultural Studies: N. Scott Momaday and Russell Leong Critical Pedagogy: Octavia E. Butler and Abiodun Oyewole Critical Pedagogy: Abiodun Oyewole and Lawson Fusao Inada
Theory Overview Teaching Strategies Authors and Literary Works Resources
Session 8 Critical Pedagogy: Abiodun Oyewole and Lawson Fusao Inada - Authors and Literary Works
Author: Abiodun Oyewole
Works: "On the Subway" and "Jones Comin' Down"

Author: Lawson Fusao Inada
Work: Legends From Camp

 

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Abiodun Oyewole

Abiodun Oyewole, known as "Doon" to friends and fans, has been writing poetry and working for social justice for most of his life. He has recorded spoken-word albums and acted as a creative writing consultant. Currently, he writes and teaches poetry at Columbia University. But he is perhaps best known as one of the founding members of The Last Poets, a revolutionary spoken-word group that The New York Times has called "the village elders of rap and a living bridge to the new poetry."

The Last Poets took the revolutionary pronouncements of South African poet Willie Kgositsile, the self-determination being preached by Malcolm X, and the creative fervor of the Black Arts movement and melded them into rhythmic, political, street poetry. In essence, they created rap. Oyewole has never taken personal credit for it, however. As Rickey Vincent, professor of Black Studies at San Francisco State University points out, "It was really kind of a movement. It was something that was part of the popular culture. The idea of mixing a poetry reading with a revolutionary passion, with an ancient African tradition of truth-telling, and with a griot-style of conga playing; all those things came out at just the right time."

The Poets' new spoken word form became enormously popular in Harlem in New York City. They found a loft space there and would perform with the likes of poet Amiri Baraka (then called LeRoi Jones) and musician Sun Ra. The group began to hold political clout; they were suddenly allied with outfits like the Harlem Committee for Self-Defense, the Black United Front, the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), and the Black Panthers.

Through the years, Oyewole has recorded new material -- notably with his friend and fellow Last Poet Umar bin Hassan -- and has become an educator in the community. "Back then, I wanted to see everything burned, I wanted to see riots," Oyewole has said. "Now, my whole thing is, we have to see how we can be the greatest part of us, which is the healing part of us. This self-empowerment mode is where I'm at. I'd rather that folks learn how to save themselves before they kill themselves. That's what I'm trying to do."

Works by the Author

top NextWorks: "On the Subway"
and "Jones Comin' Down"


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