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We live in a world where African-American men are hyper masculine beings in hip hop culture and sports OR dress up, mock elderly black woman and be laughed at by millions of viewers.And because we live in a world where things we visualize is considered a truth, it is important to consistently remind not only ourselves, but others of the trials and successes that African-Americans have endured.
By Femi Lewis One of the greatest aspects of teaching is that an educator is constantly learning.
And through my experiences as an educator, it has occurred to me that the act of teaching are public, but the thoughts and actions of an educator are personal and public.
That even though they weren’t slaves, they still weren’t free.” And for all the struggles that I endured last year to teach the Harlem Renaissance and then King’s speech, I knew that it had been worth the fight–that student had realized the humanity of a race other than his own.
Femi Lewis is a teacher and writer in New York City.
As an educator, she has written high school curricula on various topics in African-American history.
Femi has written for publications such as Black Enterprise, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Kansas City Star and the Fort Worth Star Telegram and currently serves as the African-American History expert on For the next four years, my students read poems such as Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” to understand the concept of double consciousness.And we read novels such as Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Color Purple to understand the limitations as well as motivations of African-Americans during the Jim Crow Era.Therefore, I consistently created curricula that was palatable(applicable) to my students’ lives.I focus heavily on developing units on the African Diaspora—from literature to history—so that students can make connections between the content, themselves and the world.” By my fourth and last year of teaching in Brownsville, my students stopped asking about February.Instead, they were not only learning African-American history through literature, but through films and documentaries, artist studies, theatrical productions and museum visits.One of my greatest concerns as an educator is students understand the importance of knowing history.Without knowledge of history, how can our students understand themselves?They were arguing less about reading texts and writing essays and were focusing more on learning about themselves.It was a true learning experience not only for them, but for me as well.