Richard Wright's - Black Boy

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Richard Wright's - Black Boy

A Teacher's Guide for Secondary and Post Secondary Educators


Richard Wright: An Overview

Questions and Activities Before Viewing

Questions and Activities After Viewing

History: Questions and Activities

Education: Questions and Activities

Literature: Questions and Activities

Psychology: Questions and Activities


Political Science/Cultural Studies: Questions and Activities



Although RICHARD WRIGHT: BLACK BOY focuses mainly on the life and history of an internationally acclaimed American author, the visual and audio components of the documentary richly contextualize the literature that Wright produced. In that sense, the documentary synthesizes a great amount of historical, social and cultural information about the twentieth century. It can be used to prompt extensive discussions, to stimulate students to undertake special research projects, to write papers or combine the arts and/or cultural knowledge into a learning experience.

Since the documentary is ninety minutes in length, planning and scheduling viewing time for students is essential so that the documentary can be viewed in either one or two class periods.

Teachers are encouraged to view and discuss the documentary together and decide whether it is more efficient to use it in teaching one discipline or if students might profit more from discussions that are not discipline bound.

The Teacher's Guide is designed for those teachers who want to use RICHARD WRIGHT: BLACK BOY to enhance the experiences of their students as they explore many and various school subjects.

The guide is not designed to be exhaustive. It provides ideas for student activities and assignments, bibliographies of Wright's work, and a selected listing of background sources. Some older materials are included to suggest the state of scholarship and thinking about issues within Wright's lifetime or as reminders of what works might have influenced his thinking. In making assignments, it is suggested that the teacher add current articles and books that are deemed appropriate.

The pre-viewing questions and activities are designed to help students gain background knowledge. The post-viewing student assignments focus on ways Wright's works mentioned in the documentary can be used to promote broader inquiries among the disciplines. Because the documentary contains scenes that portray Negro lynchings and an African woman's bare breasts, it is recommended that teachers and administrators below the college level review the program before showing it to students.

Questions and activities are provided in the following disciplines: History, Education, Psychology, Literature, Sociology, and Political Science/Cultural Studies. The bibliography completes the guide.
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