English and Media Literacy Curriculum

Uncovering Truth and Fiction

Grade Level: Grade Level: 9-12

Overview: This activity guide focuses on analyzing media and writings produced during the early twentieth century as well as making connections to contemporary media forms and outlets, including the journalism of "Slavery by Another Name" author Douglas A. Blackmon. Students will deconstruct both opinion and myth and write in a variety of media forms while also evaluating the integrity of facts.

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Ezekiel Archey, a convict laborer began advocating for justice by writing letters.

Capturing and Retelling History

Grade Level: Grade Level: 9-12

Overview: The activity guide focuses on the importance of documenting and preserving history, including “hidden histories” like forced labor in the American South, while also considering methods of historical interpretation. Students will analyze historical photos and use them as guides to create their own photo essays. They will also conduct oral histories and review other ways to capture and retell history in academic settings.

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Photo History Slideshow

This clip discusses the importance of understanding and knowing history as a way to understand the present and move toward the future.

Hear Our Voice

Grade Level: Grade Level: 9-12

Overview: This activity guide focuses on examining music and poetry as historical artifacts. Students will have the opportunity to interpret field hollers and work songs. Students will also analyze music from popular artists of the early twentieth century who produced music about the changing work dynamics as the country moved further into the industrialization period.

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Additional Video Resource: The Music Lives On

Southern Storyboard was commissioned by Vulcan Park and Museum to create a film for the museum’s 2011 exhibition The Music Lives On: Folk Song Traditions Told by Alabama Artists, honoring the Year of Alabama Music. This documentary follows three Birmingham folk artists—Lonnie Holley, Richard Dial, and Joe Minter—as they explain how music has inspired their artistry and how their work is influenced by Birmingham's history and community.

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