Thursday, February 7, 2008

Color Me Dark 2

More from the scholastic guide:
Thinking About the Book
1. Why did Erma Jean stop talking? What really happened to Uncle Pace?
2. Why does the sheriff of Bradford Corners want to stop Nellie's father and the other African American men from reading the Crisis magazines? What kind of stories does the magazine print? How could these pieces of paper have any effect on Bradford Corners?
3. What is a charlatan? Why is this word important in Nellie Lee's diary?
4. Where does the title for this book, Color Me Dark, come from?
5. Reverend Prince tells his congregation that "good things come from good thoughts" and that "ignorance and fear breed violence, and knowledge is the only way to overcome intolerance." How can thinking or knowledge be so powerful? What does Reverend Prince mean?
6. What incident started the Chicago Riot of 1919?
7. What is meant by "The Great Migration North"? Why did it take place?
Student Activities
1. In Nellie Lee's January 9, 1919 diary entry she writes about how she taught Uncle John Willis to "hand-clap" a rhyme. Create your own rhyme about something or someone in Color Me Black. Pick a partner and hand-clap the rhyme for your class or discussion group.
2. The Love family's life changed when they moved to Chicago. Compare and contrast the two ways of life — Bradford Corners, TN, to Chicago, IL. Make a Venn Diagram to help you visualize the differences and similarities between the two cities. For more information on the city of Chicago in 1900, visit the library's millennium site at Another Chicago Public Library site links to information on the 1919 Chicago race riots:
3. There are several superstitions about the weather that appear in Nellie's diary: If it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain seven Sundays thereafter. Red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky at morning, sailors take warning. Interview adult members of your family or teachers in your school. See how many of these superstitions about the weather you and your discussion group can find.
4. Women in Bradford Corners worked very hard as sharecroppers in the fields. What professions or occupations were available for women in Chicago? How did Mrs. Love change? Some women, such as Madam C. J. Walker, provided opportunities and inspired others to follow in their paths. To learn more about Madam C. J. Walker's life and her hair care products, along with some interesting photographs from the early 20th century, go to
5. Music was a vital force in the Harlem Renaissance. There were many creative forces in the African American community during the early 20th century. For information about James Weldon Johnson's Negro National Anthem, to print the words, view the sheet music, and actually hear "Lift every voice and sing" go to the following site: Click on the /Music/ button that will take you to Then scroll down to the song, "Lift every voice and sing." You can click on the sheet music to see an enlarged view, then continue scrolling to find the words and at the bottom of that section, you can click on the "listen to" link to actually hear the song. There is an alternative version — as a gospel song — at the following site:
6. Read Patricia McKissack's other Dear America book, A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl. Compare Nellie Lee with Clotee. How are they different? How are they the same?


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