Thursday, October 29, 2009
Bastards of the Party
Raised in the Athens Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Cle "Bone" Sloan was four years old when his father died, and 12 when he became a member of the Bloods. Now an inactive member of the notorious gang, Sloan looks back at the history of black gangs in his city and makes a powerful call for change in modern gang culture with his insightful documentary, BASTARDS OF THE PARTY.
In the afternoon class we looked at themes from the film and developed thesis sentences based on Topical Invention strategies (handout). The homework was to choose two themes and develop 6-8 sentences: 2 analogies, 2 definitions, 2 consequences, and 2 testimonies.
If you were absent you can borrow the film from the library or film rental store. We watched up to 1980. The film is produced by HBO. Here is a link.
Other homework is to continue in SPHE: Parallel Structure, which we also reviewed briefly. For the afternoon class, students were asked to find a poem in Rose which uses parallel structure.
Evolution of a Revolutionary books
In the afternoon class we read from the Guy text, bring to class Monday. If you don't have the book, the COA college book store is ordering copies of the book, only 10, so if you need a copy you can purchase a copy there on Thursday next week.
Today we are meeting at the Lake Merritt BART Station at 5:30 to go to the film "Precious." Don't worry if you didn't RSVP with me, just come and I can get you in.
Call me if you can't find us at the BART Station. The film starts at 7 PM and we need to be there before or by 6:30 PM
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Homework is to bring in Evolution of a Revolutionary. Continue in SPHE. We will go over parallel structure tomorrow. We will write this essay in class next week. It is Essay Exam 3, which means we will write it in class.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Have a proposal ready to share with me re: your plan to do the essays and pass the class.
Evolution of a Revolutionary
1. When you read the title, "Evolution of a Revolutionary," what comes to mind? What is a revolutionary and how does what you know about Afeni make this an accurate description of her life?
Cyber-Post for Scenes from "Holler"
The places where you post the summaries for Dyson's book are earlier cyber-assignments. You have to look for them.
English 201 Afternoon Class/ Morning class should read as well
Homework will be to continue in SPHE Parallel Structure, Part 8. This is another essay exam we will write in class. Type the three templates you'd like to use in the essay and save on your blog, as an email and on a jump drive. We will write this essay next week on Monday, November 2. If many students are attending the lecture/presentation at Berkeley Rep, also that evening, I will make the class just an hour.
Students can write the essay and leave. We will review Parallel Structure Wednesday in class. Bring your questions.
Keep a reading log for the Guy book, Evolution of a Revolutionary, with a section for vocabulary, chapter summary and questions that arise from the reading. Students have to respond to at least one person for each chapter.
Precious: The Film
Please indicate in your response: how many tickets and leave your email address. I have posted a description of the film.
Liquid Soul Media will be conducting an advance screening of the highly anticipated film “Precious” Starring Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe in Houston on Thursday, October 29th at 7:00PM at the AMC Metreon.
Lee Daniels’ PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE is a vibrant, honest and resoundingly hopeful film about the human capacity to grow and overcome.
Set in Harlem in 1987, it is the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a sixteen-year-old African-American girl born into a life no one would want. She’s pregnant for the second time by her absent father; at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother (Mo’Nique), a poisonously angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos, and Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks and an awful secret: she can neither read nor write.
Precious may sometimes be down, but she is never out. Beneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with an inchoate but unshakeable sense that other possibilities exist for her. Threatened with expulsion, Precious is offered the chance to transfer to an alternative school, Each One/Teach One.
Precious doesn’t know the meaning of “alternative,” but her instincts tell her this is the chance she has been waiting for. In the literacy workshop taught by the patient yet firm Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), Precious begins a journey that will lead her from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self-determination.
Essay Exam 3: Possessives plus homework
1. Cyber catch up.
3. Essay Exam 2
4. Homework: Type templates for the Possessives essay.
Bring in the Guy book. Review last week's homework and complete on blog. Don't forget to post your chapter responses for Holler. I will also provide a link for your scenes.
I have spoken to Speak Out, the organization hosting Marc Bamuthi Joseph: The Spoken World, next week, Nov. 2, 2009, 8 PM (doors 7 PM). Tickets for students are $7 and I would like to reserve seats. Let me know tomorrow, Oct. 27, if you would like to go and how many tickets.
You can post your name and how many tickets here as well. We can meet together at 7 PM at the venue and sit together. I live in East Oakland and if anyone wants to carpool let me know. BART stops up the street from the theatre. We could meet at Lake Merritt BART and catch a Richmond train together. I am open to both scenarios. BART means I don't have to look for parking which is hard to find.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Homework is also to review the preface in The Rose that Grew from Concrete. Compare Afeni's reflections on her son to those of Nikki Giovanni and Leila Steinberg. Post your response to the reflective question here. Use paraphrase and direct quotes, one from each writer to support your argument. The response should be about three paragraphs.
Catch up on the posts. I didn't see many responses to Robert King, to student scenes, and other assignments.
Brave New Voices Cyber-Assignment
Today we watched Brave New Voices, and HBO series that aired late Spring this year. Respond to the question: Do you believe with Lauren Whitehead, that poetry saves lives? Give examples.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Write a letter to Mr. King and share thoughts with him on his presentation this morning and afternoon. Make sure you begin with a salutation and close properly.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, both classes recap
Yesterday afternoon, students made final presentations on Holler: Khalood, Julianna, Ramon, Lou, with student cast members. Please post the scenes at the link I will post. We also watched the film, Procrastination.
In the morning class we had two presentations: Ernest, Matthew and Gwendolyn with class members as cast.
The afternoon class had additional homework, this was connected to Julianne's presentation on the Epilogue and the song, Me Against the World. We discussed the song and what the thesis was. We also looked at poems from The Rose That Grew from Concrete (15, 25, 7, 105, 107, 111, and 137) which reflected these themes. Students were then asked to write 3-4 thesis sentences which take their themes from song.
We had two quizzes, Point of View and Be-Verbs. Homework for both classes is to continue in SPHE in section 7, I believe, Possessives. We will start the essay on Thursday, the MW class will work on the essay Monday, October 26.
I'd like students in both classes to include a reflection on your writing process, that is, pulling together the poem and song that fit your chapter theme, the performance and feedback afterwards. The reflection should be minimally three paragraphs. Post with the scene.
Don't forget to comment on each student's presentation in the same link posted below.
If you were the presenter, reflect on your process. Include the chapter and the playwright's name in your comments. Be substantive in your comments. If you skipped this assignment, for whatever reasons, it wasn't optional, and we need to talk about a make-up assignment.
Please include the lyrics to your song and the poem with the scene. Again check to make sure the formatting it correct before clicking okay. Everyone was to give me a paper copy of the script. I didn't get this from everyone who presented.
For the MW class, bring any questions on SPHE (or anything else) to class Wednesday, October 21, you might have re: SPHE or anything else. Before our guest begins we will go over anything you don't understand from the next section.
I will post the review of our guest's book here.
From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of Black Panther Robert Hillary King with an introduction by Terry Kupers, M.D., M.S.P., PM Press 2009, 217 pp, $24.95 cloth
Review by Wanda Sabir
Outside Angola State Prison, “Last Slave Plantation” is painted on the asphalt near the initials LSP for Louisiana State Penitentiary. Prison guards block the road, as signs wave demanding the release of the Angola 3: Albert Woodfox, Herman Wallace and Robert King Wilkerson. In February 2001, Robert King walks out a free man, all charges dropped.
Who would have known, who could have predicted this man’s life was destined to take the turns it did – not for any particular misdeed; rather, his captivity was based solely on prejudicial perceptions that labeled him and other Black, poor boys and men, then and now, unworthy, criminal.
Freedom was a notion many in his community claimed but few knew because of the politically racist policies of the Deep South. Yet, despite all this, the child, Robert Hillary King, found a home and a grandmother and a community where not only was he welcomed, he was loved too.
Sheltered from the travesties of Jim Crow – segregation and deprivation – he took the lean days in stride with the fat. Even when accused, picked up and booked, not once, but three times, the first while just a child for crimes he hadn’t committed, King retained his optimism and belief in the human race. One would think, later on, after 29 years in solitary confinement with charges which were all eventually dropped, he might carry some bitterness, righteous anger for irretrievable time lost – 31 years - but he doesn’t. If anything, his anger is at a system, what he calls a post-colonial system which sanctions the disenfranchisement of certain people – 500 years after the first Africans disembarked on American shores.
Robert Hillary King a.k.a. Robert King Wilkerson takes us on a lyrical journey “From the Bottom of the Heap” to the depths of a darkness so dense flashlights can’t pierce the intangible conscience or sensibility of a nation or a people who would subject another citizen to what King describes in his autobiography as a normal state of affairs for Black men pre-Civil Rights Act, pre-March on Washington, pre-Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.
Told in a straightforward manner, this gripping tale has humor and all the innocence of a child’s voice, a more mature young man’s, evolving finally into the voice of an adult trying to plant his flag in ripe soil to claim a piece of the planet for himself and his kin. Unlike Ralph Ellison’s protagonist, King doesn’t evaporate or melt into the darkness. He fights, he yells, he refuses to take the beatings, whether ideologically or physically. He never gives up hope.
It’s amazing that King actually believed in the judicial system; he believed in it up to the third time he was thrown into the Parish Prison and was looking at 35 years to life. It was at this time, when he realized that the court was just interested in closing cases, not in justice, that he “felt psychologically whole.” King felt that if he didn’t act on this “new consciousness” it would be a betrayal of his sanity, so he and 60 other “brothers in jail who also felt this need to appeal to no one but themselves, where freedom was concerned,” planned an escape (156-157).
King stayed at large for a couple of weeks and though he was returned to the New Orleans Parish Prison with eight additional years added to his 35-year sentence, he no longer masked his reality with religion or other opiates. He says, “In studying and learning of my enemy, I also learned of myself, my place in history. In learning of my place in history, I rediscovered my long lost humanity. Individuality was replaced with the need for unity.
“I saw that all are expendable at the system’s whim. I saw how my mother, her mother and her mother’s mother before her suffered. I saw past generations of my forefathers stripped from their homeland, brought by force, to these shores in chains” (169). It is here King recognizes his piece on the game board and steps off the table – refusing to play anymore.
He’d heard about the shooting on Desire Street in New Orleans between the police and the Black Panther Party – several members also jailed at New Orleans Parish Prison – both men and women. During this time he is introduced to the BPP and sees in it the answers to so many questions he’d had before. He says, “Certainty replaced uncertainty” and despite the tragic loss of his 5-year-old son, Robert Jr., due to medical malpractice and the loss of his physical freedom, King seems to have gained a lot more than he lost.
King is shipped briefly to Angola again, returned to Parish Prison in 1971, and then shipped back to Angola for good in 1972, where he was charged with investigation into the death of a prison guard, a death that happened before he arrived back at Angola. Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Gilbert Montegut were also tried. Woodfox has been cleared of the charges brought in 1972 and is presently awaiting release. Wallace’s case is on appeal to the Louisiana State Supreme Court.
“From the Bottom of the Heap” is the story of one man, yet it could be the story of a nation – from Jim Crow to Hip Hop, the strategic targeting of Black youth, the criminalizing of persons based solely on the color of their skin, the content of their wallets and the address of their parents. This story is the answer leaders today need to hear – it is a voice no one is listening too.
The same economic circumstances which made it impossible to feed one’s family 50, 60 years ago exist today. The public education system is just as inadequate now as it was then in preparing future generations for occupations that will support their families. In fact, the situation today might be worse.
The end of the book shifts and changes tone: There are letters, a poem, a chronology of the Angola 3, more thanks, a family tree and an ad for Freelines – King’s sweet confection first made in prison. When one thinks of a second coming, Robert Hillary King comes to mind – he says he was reborn Feb. 8, 2001. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, after so much loss, so much death, the ashes serve as fertilizer for a brighter today and tomorrow.
King hasn’t walked on water yet, but I’m sure he could if he wanted to. If ever a child was born without a chance, it was this bright light – Robert King, on May 30, 1942 - this child born of descendants of former slaves in Gonzales, Louisiana. Yet, as long as he had lungs, this boy, later man, was not going down without a noise. And it is this noise, this shaking at the gates of justice, rattling the consciences of fellow Americans, that earned him his freedom and will earn his comrades Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox theirs too.
Published in the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper and LeftTurn Magazine Nov.2008
Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website and blog at www.wandaspicks.com for an expanded version of Wanda’s Picks, her photos and her radio show. To learn more about the Angola 3, visit www.Angola3.org , www.3blackpanthers.org and www.A3grassroots.org.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The Be-Verb essay is due Monday, October 19. Some students had to redo the introduction; please attach the new introduction to the top of the essay I told you to keep Thursday. Give everything to me Monday, October 19.
Some students gave me their scenes, many didn't. Please give me your scripts and I will post a link for you to post them. Please make your comments to student presentations in the place established already. Each student should have summaries for each chapter in Dyson. You can give this to me also on Wednesday/Thursday.
We will start Evolution of a Revolutionary next week, bring to class Wednesday/Thursday, October 28/29.
Wednesday, October 21, Robert Hillary King, author of From the Bottom of the Heap: The Story of Black Panther Robert Hillary King will present to students in a few of my classes: English 201, 8-8:50 AM, L-202E, English 1A, 11-11:50 AM, B-205, and English 201, A-200, 1-2:50 PM (we'll show a short film about King in this class). You are welcome to join us at any or all the presentations. He knows Afeni Shakur and is active in the Prison Abolition Movement, particularly re: the Angola 3. He will speak about literary, and also share his experiences in the Black Panther Party which he joined behind bars at Angola State Prison where he served 31 years, 29 in solitary confinement.
He is visiting from Austin, Texas, for the Black Panther Party Book Fair, Saturday, October 24, and other events next week.
Be on time.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Presentations: Afternoon Class
Please write a response to your classmate's scene. Comment on the writer's grasp of key ideas and concepts presented in the chapter. Comment on the writing and performance. Be constructive. Add to the discussion something the presenter did not choose to highlight.
Each response needs to be specific to the writer. You will write a separate comment for each writer.
A Rose that Grew from Concrete Cyber-Assignment
Student Presentations Day 1
Share what you liked, what worked and your reflections on the chapter(s) in question. Post three responses, one per scene. Direct your comments to the playwrights.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We will go chronologically through the book, starting with the Introduction, Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4. We will probably only have time for chapters Wednesday. We'll finish Thursday.
Your research paper will take its topic from the Jasmine Guy book, Evolution of a Revolutionary. The topic will be nature va. nurture. How much of who Tupac becomes a result of heredity, how much is environment, that is, the people in his life during his formative years?
I cannot post theBe-Verb introduction worksheet. It was outside my office in an envelop all along. I never looked so I wasn't aware that I'd put it out there Monday.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Students also discussed their Holler projects with their partners. Many students were absent. I hope everyone feels better next week.
Remember, there is a written component to the presentation. Go to the library and look at a published play. There is a certain formatting for a play. You are taking a scene from your chapter, developing characters and giving them something to say.
Your scene will also have a soundtrack and poem from Rose. Read the forward, the preface and the introduction to the book. Put the poem wherever it fits, in the prologue, as a part of the opening narration, at the end or in the middle. You can even have Tupac (a character) share it.
This is supposed to be a fun activity.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Holler Presentations Assignment
You will have to take the scene and write it out, type the dialogue out--each time you switch speakers you start a new paragraph. You will illustrate your ability to paraphrase and summarize. You can also use direct quotes and use your creativity where needed to make the scene work. Each scene has to have a score, so think about music that works for your chapter...Dyson always gives you plenty of choices. Choose one song.
Also incorporate a poem from The Rose That Grew From Concrete in the scene as a prologue or an epilogue or within the scene itself.
I will assign the chapters beginning this afternoon and the presentations for the afternoon class will be Wednesday, October 14, and for the morning class, Wednesday-Thursday, October 14-15.
Thursday evening I will be hosting a panel on Women in the Black Panther Party at the Oakland Main Library, on 14th Street, between Oak and Madison. It is free and starts at 5 PM. The art opening is at 2 PM. If you attend and write something, you can have extra credit.
What's in a Name? Cyber-Assignment for both classes
This is a two-part assignment. Read the Felicia Pride reflection, (taken from The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip Hop's Greatest Songs;" now review your earlier post and extend and expand it given her comments and the lyrics from the song: "the Meaning of the Name" by Gangstar (1991).
The Meaning of a Name
The meaning of the name GangStarr, well I'll tell ya
It means I find my mind can excel to
a greater type of thought, brought by the things that I've been taught
in relation to things that I rebel to divine and combine
with a sense of confidence
Accomplishments, are achieved off lots of gifts
But slopiness, I could never tolerate it
Not the Guru nor Premier you don't know how long we've waited
While other groups have faded, just like haircuts
We use sheer guts to open the earducts of your brain
to expose every vain
Cause you sound plain, insane, and mundane, it's a shame
You've got no beats, so you get no seats
at this table, you ain't stable with the mic cable
Kane and Able, jealous brothers
And I knew some girls who were overzealous lovers
But back to the act of developing the GangStarr track
It means that nothing can be wack
The music is picked right, the mic is gripped tight
The lyrics I kick right to a beat like Kryptonite power
Not withstood by any mortal or immortal
To make you get on the floor til
another dope jam we slam with precision
Bringing beams of light, like the colors in a prism
or reflections, through a spectrum
And all the soft silly suckers I'ma wet them
in other words destroy boy, and then claim my fame...
This is the meaning of the name
(DJ Premier cuts "what does it all mean?")
GangStarr, it means a lot to me
It means I'm free to bust rhymes sporadically
Gang represents my boys or a posse
So just back up off me
And the Starr symbolizes the power
Making the suckers and weak brothers cower
We got strong, intelligent minds with a street sense
Crazy offense, and stupid defense
Now, have I made myself clear?
Or do I have to call on DJ Premier?
For he and I make up the songs that you long for
Meanwhile ducks just knock on the wrong door
Waiting for a call or for the doors to open
Cause they're hoping, that they'll get chosen
But to be chosen is a divine gift
You better get a job quick
See you can't rhyme and all your beats are weak
You oughta take a peak and check out the technique
Seek, and you shall find
GangStarr stands for mastermind
Simple and plain and yo this ain't no game lame...
This is the meaning of the name
(DJ Premier cuts "what does it all mean?")
Visit http://www.podcastalley.com/podcast_details.php?pod_id=48183 for the Bomani interview when Tupac was 18.
1. On African names and embracing an African-American identity
2. On negative images of the black community and the New African panthers movement
3. Takes questions from callers concerning historic origins of the NBP, women's role in the organization and contemporary discrimination of African-Americans
Post your impressions of the interview, use quotes and/or paraphrases which resonated with you. How did reading Dyson prepare you for Tupac? What did you already know about the artist that he confirmed in the interview about his political beliefs? What did you learn you weren't already aware of? How did you like listening to Tupac? List all the references you did not recognize such as the Virginia Beach incident and Bishop Stallings in DC.
Second interview with Davey D, 1991
1. Again reflect on Tupac's comments on Davey D's question about his life, politics and music.
2. How did reading Dyson prepare you for this interview?
3. How does Tupac in his own words and voice verify Dyson's claims? What arguments does Tupac support of Dyson's?
4. In Tupac's voice, have him write Dyson a critique of Holler If You Hear Me (three paragraphs minimally.)
Does anyone have the film Juice and/or the album 2Pacalypse Now? If any student would like to make a short presentation on the film and/or the record let me know.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Holler Chapters 3-6
See chapter 1-2 guidelines for additional instructions.
Holler Chapters 1-2
Each paragraph should be minimally three paragraphs, it can be longer.
Separate the notes from the summary. Use headings. Each chapter's writing: summaries and notes, can be one post. Check the formatting before you post the document.
For homework, write summaries for each of the chapters in Holler. Post the words you didn't know, the names of folks you had to look up and any questions you had. I have divided the posts into chapters 1-3 and chapters 4-6. Respond to each other. Each summary needs to be minimally 3 paragraphs.
Bring Rose to class all next week. If you want to get ahead, read the preface, intro and forward. I made a mistake on the Ellipses exercises answers. Review the Auxiliary pages: 319-325 in SPHE.
We will talk about research essays next week. I gave students copies of chapters 6-7. I put extra copies in the folder outside L-235. I have papers for Matt, DeMel, David Le. Ask for them Monday or connect with Dominique today. We will put them in the envelop outside L-235.
When you get the exams back Monday, October 5, notice your errors and review that section of Pidd. We are writing the Point of View essay next week pp. 144-172. We will write it in class, probably Wednesday, October 7. We'll start the Be-Verb essay Thursday, October 8 and the essay will be due on Monday, October 12. We'll write the Possessives essay in class and perhaps Parallel Structure also. Subject/Verb Agreement will be homework. We might write the Bad Granny Essay in class.