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September 18

Their Eyes Were Watching God was published in 1937.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God was published in 1937.

Grades 9 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston was published in 1937. The novel tells of the life and loves of Janie Crawford in a story that is highlighted by its use of storytelling, black folklore, and dialects.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God explores stories and storytelling. To introduce the novel in your class, ask students to brainstorm the kinds of stories they know. If students offer specific stories, list the stories and then go back through the list and divide the stories into categories such as family stories, mythology, folklore, urban legends, and so forth.

Next, ask students where these stories come from. Students should identify such sources as experience, books, parents, ancestors, history, friends, nature, fears, dreams, childhood, and home. As students begin reading the novel, return to these questions-identifying the kinds of stories that are being told, where the stories come from, and why they are being told.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • Zora Neale Hurston

    This Today in History entry from the Library of Congress celebrates Hurston's birthday. Hurston was born on January 7, 1891 in Eatonville, Florida, the first incorporated black town in the United States.

  • The Official Zora Neal Hurston Website

    This site offers biographical information about Hurston, lists of her books, related news, links to additional resources, and guides for educators and reading groups. Included is an Instructor's Guide for Their Eyes Were Watching God.

  • The Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress

    The Library of Congress offers a collection of plays written by Hurston but unpublished until 1997, well after her death. The plays reflect Hurston's life, as well as her studies of African American folklore.

RELATED RESOURCES

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Langston Hughes was born in 1902.

Grades   7 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  February 1

Langston Hughes was born in 1902.

Students examine the poem "Dreams" and identify metaphors in each sentence. Groups of students then compose poems with metaphors for dreams.

 

Take part in the African American Read-In!

Grades   K – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  February 1

Take part in the African American Read-In!

Students come together with family and friends to take part in a read-in of books by African American authors and report their results.

 

Jazz and blues singer Billie Holiday was born in 1915.

Grades   9 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  April 7

Jazz and blues singer Billie Holiday was born in 1915.

Students listen to Holiday's song "Strange Fruit" and identify powerful and descriptive images for a mini-lesson on tone and about the lynchings in the South during this time.