Quick Reading and Cinema List for Black History Month

Add some richness to your teens’ reading and watching with literature guides for a quick reading and cinema list for Black History Month.

Quick Reading and Cinema List for Black History Month

Quick Reading and Cinema List for Black History Month

February is Black History Month. This is a good time to add a couple of classic reading and movies to your homeschool high schoolers’ book lists!

If you would like to do an entire unit study for Black History Month, here is a post with a one-week study outlined for you. However, if you do not have time to dedicate a full week, along with lots of subjects (reading, writing, Fine Arts, Science, History), how about something simpler:

  • Read two classic books that are stories with Black main characters (along with a no-busywork literature study guide)
    • Take two weeks per book
      • Read the book
      • Work on literature study guide ask they read
    • Read the books in:
      • traditional book form
      • digital form (such as Kindle)
      • OR audiobook form
  • Watch two classic movies that are also stories with Black main characters (along with a no-busywork literature study guide)
    • Watch one movie the first week of February
    • Watch another movie the third week of February
      • Again completing the accompanying Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Guide.

The two books we suggest for Reading and Cinema List for Black History Month are:

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun Literature Study Guide
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A Raisin in the Sun is the classic story of a Black family in Chicago in the 1950s. It won the New York Critic’s Circle Award for Best Play of 1959.

The book tells the story of a mother and her two adult children. The father had died recently and the family must decide what to do with their ten-thousand dollar life insurance settlement. The mother, Lena, would like to buy a home and finds that the most affordable houses are in a white neighborhood. The son, Walter, would like to buy a liquor store to generate good income. The daughter is wrestling with which suitor she should choose: one who has successfully assimilated into white culture, the other is a Nigerian immigrant who does not wish to choose white culture in order to be successful.

The story shows the family dealing with housing discrimination, racism and concepts like assimilation.

BTW- The title comes from Langston Hughes’ poem, “A Dream Deferred”. Teens can learn about Hughes and his poetry, along with other poets in 7Sisters American Poetry Reading and Writing Guide.

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Cry, the Beloved County Literature Study Guide
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Cry, the Beloved Country is a moving story of a priest, Stephen Kumalo, in a Zulu village in South Africa. He travels to Johannesburg find his missing son and his sister at the request of a priest there. Through the story, he learns of the devastating effect on his people when they loose their tribal and village identity and roots. Not only that but he finds white people who are willing to help and want to help make their country better for all races.

The book is full of heartwarming and heartbreaking plot twists that leave the reader with a deeper compassion for family struggles and everyone in the book (and those people the characters represent).

We are suggesting 7Sisters Literature Study Guides because they are no-busywork, don’t-kill-the-book guides.

Each guide covers:

  • Background information the teen needs to know in order to understand the context of the book
  • Vocabulary list taken from the book
  • Instruction on one or two literature analysis themes
  • Questions that build understanding of the story, the literature themes, and inferential skills
  • AND separate answer key for parents
  • However, it does not contain busywork!

The two movies we suggest for Reading and Cinema List for Black History Month are:

Lilies of the Field

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Guide Lilies of the Field
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Lilies of the Field is the 1963 comedy-drama about an itinerant jack-of-all-trades who helps some East German nuns build a chapel on their farm in Arizona. This is a sweet story of three very diverse kinds of people learning to understand each other: a Black man, the nuns who fled post-war Eastern Europe and the local Hispanic residents.

Sidney Poitier won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Homer Smith. He was the first person of color to win that award. The film was nominated for four other Academy Awards.

When homeschool high schoolers watch the movie, they can work through 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guide. Here’s how the Cinema Studies for Literature Learning guides work:

  • Each study guide asks the student to read the introductory material, watch the movie once (answering questions as they go, occasionally pausing the video).
    • Then take a week to think a bit about the ideas and the literary devices they observed.
    • Ideally, students should discuss their answers with someone else to enhance the learning process.
  • Students then watch the movie a second time after the questions and ideas have had some time to take root,
    • Then they write a response to the suggested assignment at the end of the study guide.
    • Writing assignments assume a certain degree of basic understanding on the part of the student regarding paragraph structure and essay form.
      • If your teen has not practiced essay writing, we recommend that you look into a writing guide like Introductory Guide to High School Essay Writing, available in the ebookstore here.

Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guide
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Remember the Titans is the true story of football coach Herman Boone. Played by Denzel Washington, Boone is assigned the responsibility in 1971 of integrating the formerly all-white football team at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Set in the early days of the integration of public schools in Virginia,

The story is powerful because it is a true story of the students and coaches of different races learning how to learn and work together and being a Disney production, parents can relax and not worry about inappropriate scenes.

In order to count the movie for their book list, teens should complete the Remember the Titans Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guide.

Adapt this quick reading and cinema list for Black History Month to your homeschool high schoolers’ needs. This will give them some perspective on history, on diversity and good books and movies.

Need more inspiration for helping teens understand how meaningful and important it is to study history? Check out this on why History is boring and how to make it better.

What are some favorite books or movies you might add to this list?

 

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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