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Learning about Black History Month

Mr. Anderson's students pose with a book they are reading. Mr. Anderson’s English III class is “Celebrating Black History Month” by reading A Lesson Before Dying, by American author, Ernest Gaines. The lesson started by watching an interview with Ernest Gaines himself. Gaines wrote the novel based on things he witnessed in the 1940’s during his childhood. Gaines says that he wanted a novel “that talked about his people." Students also researched the life of Nelson Mandela and watched clips of “Cry, the Beloved Country” in conjunction with the novel. Nelson Mandela fought to unite South Africa and put an end to apartheid.  Gaines witnessed issues with segregation much like Mandela.    

Students have been collaborating in teams of four on themes from the novel ranging from “human dignity” to “redemption'. We have also talked about how to preserve someone’s self-esteem and human dignity as part of our “Culture of Respect” motto here at CATA. In addition, students read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou, as a parallel to what a character is going through in the novel. As the novel progresses, two of the major characters indeed learn a very important lesson about life and the power of education. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon that can cause change in the world.” Mr. Anderson stated, "I am so proud of my students for embracing diversity and wanting to increase their knowledge of African American History during the month of February."