Black Literature Matters


Malachi Hatfield, Reporter

African American Literature is widely viewed as a very important class to have available for students, for it displays the African American side/perspective of literature rather than the usual “Dead White Men” books that are taught. It was taught by Mr. Robinson in previous years, but he recently moved out of state last May. Ms. Good, a second year English teacher (first year at the time), decided to teach the class this year and most likely in the future. When the opportunity to teach African American Lit was presented to the teachers in our English department, Ms. Good jumped at it.

She said that she volunteered for the position because, “(She) realized the importance of the course in providing students with a holistic and inclusive education.”

When asked why she believed it was an important class she responded, “While I am a white woman who cannot speak directly on the African American experience, my goal as an instructor is to facilitate the exploration of Black voices in the classroom, and I believe that culturally inclusive classes have the power to transform a student’s perspective on education.” She continued, “The curriculum is centered around exposing students to the diverse cannon of African American literature and by bringing Black writers and Black issues into the classroom, the class really encourages students to think critically about issues that are not traditionally discussed in high school classrooms like race, class, gender, power, incarceration, morality, social mobility and education.”

For the rest of this semester, she will have her students working on the mid term project called “Black Excellence”. The assignment consists of ” (Students) choosing an individual to research, write an expository essay about, and create a 3-slide presentation on. Once students complete their individual presentation slides, they will all be edited together into a single slideshow, and the class will vote on the instrumental music track to finalize their tribute to “Black Excellence”. This February, in celebration of Black History Month, our class project will be emailed out to all Sahuaro teachers who will have the option of sharing the video to their class if they wish. I am really excited to see this class project culminate into an exciting final product to be shared with the whole Sahuaro community!”

She confirmed that she’s planning on taking her students on trips when we go back to school in person as long as it’s safe to do so. She made a point to plan to take those trips because she believes, “That field trips are an important aspect of any cultural education because we learn the most about life through experiences and interactions.” Among these trips are trips to the U of A, local theater, and other events around the community. She even planned for guest speakers to speak in our virtual classes, along with taking a virtual HBCU tour where her and her students will be taking a look at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country.

Whether it’s in person or virtually, she plans on making this year as fun as possible for her students, from the curriculum to the trips that they will be taking/experiencing.