March 2

Welcome to March 2! You’ll be expected to finish this unit between Tuesday April 14 and Sunday April 19, when you’ll upload your “March 2 Weekly Journal” to GoStudio. NOTE: My planning assumes you’ve finished reading March: Book One by this point.

We have two objectives for this lesson plan:

1. Investigate the tension between the missions of education and entertainment in March: Book One;

2. Better understand the historical period of the book and its attempts to convey that history verbally and visually.

3. Connect the history of Black Americans and civil rights to the contemporary moment.

Let’s look at the steps and activities you’ll complete:

  • Day 1 (begin Tues April 14)

    1. Read the Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story comic.

    2. Read Qiana Whitted’s essay, “The Good Kind of Trouble,” and answer the Reflection Questions.

    3. Do the “Treasure Hunt” activity and answer the Reflection Question.

    4. Watch one of the Kimberlé Crenshaw videos and answer a Reflection Question.

    5. Post your responses in the forum on GoStudio by the time we meet on Thursday.

  • Day 2 (Thurs April 16)

    Take part in our live class meeting and/or the GoStudio forum.

  • Final Step (Sun April 19)

    Upload your “March 2 Weekly Journal” to GoStudio.

Let’s get started….

Day 1 (Tues April 14)

Step One. Read the Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story comic. This is the comic featured in March: Book One. Whitted discusses it in her essay.

STEP TWO. Read Qiana Whitted’s essay, “The Good Kind of Trouble,” about March, the MLK comic, and the tension between comics’ educational and entertainment functions. (Note that her essay is 22 pages of text, the other 10 pages are endnotes and bibliography. Also, she’s given me permission to use this unfinished draft in our class. Please do not distribute it.)

When you’ve finished the essay, answer the following:

Reflection Question 1: On p. 14 of her essay, Whitted asks, “How does [March] imagine the ‘underlying truth’ of Lewis’ experience during the Civil Rights era? To what extent do the storytelling strategies, including elements of design and style, align with readerly expectations about what important comics should do?” (emphasis mine). She goes on to answer these questions. Do you agree with her answers? In general, reflect on how March navigates the tension between its responsibilities to history and the necessity of telling an engaging story.

Reflection Question 2: To what extent is March: Book One an instructional comic like Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story? Is it useful to compare the two in this regard? What are the limitations of such a comparison?

STEP THREE. “Treasure Hunt” Activity: Find the following items, read/listen to them, put the links in your Weekly Journal, and answer the question at the end:

            1. Read or listen to a speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

            2. Listen to a protest song from the era 1955-1964.

            3. Find one image–a photograph, an illustration, a single-panel cartoon–from 1955-1964 related to the Civil Rights Movement which you feel compliments the story told in March: Book One. (Note that this doesn’t mean it repeats the story; it might add new information.)

Reflection Question 3: What did you learn from these historical sources? How well do they help you understand the time period, the Civil Rights Movement, and March itself? What can March, as a graphic memoir, say about this historical period that these direct historical sources cannot?

STEP FOUR. Watch one of the following lectures by Kimberlé Crenshaw in regards to Critical Race Theory and some of its concerns. You may of course watch all of them, but you only need to watch one by Thursday.

In this lecture, Crenshaw discusses the legal history of segregation, asymmetry, and colorblindness before connecting them to more recent issues like affirmative action.

After you’ve watched one of the videos, respond to the following:

Reflection Question 4: Apply one critique or concept from Crenshaw’s lectures to March: Book One. For instance, how might we apply an intersectional critique to March on the basis of race, gender, and class? Or how do we see the social asymmetry of racism operating in scenes in March? Feel free to include a question asking for clarification or development.

HOMEWORK for Thursday’s class

Before our class meeting, post your responses to each of the Reflection Questions in the forum on GoStudio. Also, in the “Treasure Hunt” thread, post links to or embed the cultural artifacts you explored.

Be prepared to discuss these when we meet on Thursday.

Optional: This is a stirring performance of “Glory,” a song from Selma, the 2014 film about the 1964-1965 voting rights campaign that included the Selma to Montgomery Marches. The march on March 7, 1965, referred to as “Bloody Sunday,” is the opening sequence in March: Book One. Here, John Legend and Common perform the song at the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the beatings took place. This is an audience recording. There’s also a stunning version from the Oscars, but I find this even more satisfying.

Day 2 (Thurs April 16)

Today we’ll meet via Zoom from 3:30-4:00pm. I’ll post the link on GoStudio in the weekly section. You’ll also need to access the GoStudio forum. (Remember to post your responses and cultural artifacts before class.)

During class we’ll chat about the questions and I’ll ask you to type in some responses to your peers’ uploads.

If you are unable to make it at this time, don’t worry. Just access the Google Doc and respond to another group’s question.

Read the requirements for the Weekly Journal below so you know what to be working on between now and Sunday.

Final Step (Sunday April 19)

Today you’ll need to upload your March 2 Weekly Journal. Here’s what it needs to include:

  1. Your responses to the 4 Reflection questions.
  2. Links or embeds for the cultural artifacts from the “Treasure Hunt.”
  3. NEW: Reflect on the class discussion and forum responses in general. What new ideas or perspectives did you encounter? How did the discussion inform your own ideas or perspectives?
  4. NEW: Answer the following: What do you think is the relevance of March and its historical narrative today? You can apply it to politics, protest, race, gender, sexuality, class, American culture, and/or, of course, comics.

Upload this to the GoStudio dropbox in the weekly section.

You’re done!

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