I've always been interested in the Great Migration, so when the book The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson showed up in the high school's library, I snatched it up. Something about the shameful way humans have treated each other and the great strides (and setbacks) America has made, reinforces my love of history, humanity, and ultimately the students I am so lucky to encounter day in and day out.
As I've been reading this book during Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) time, horrified by the dehumanizing choices that have shaped America's history yet encouraged by individual after individual who has sacrificed to make the world a better place by standing up for what is right, I am reminded of other works that have taught me that humans should have the basic right to tell their own truths, whether through fiction or nonfiction: Roots and Queen by Alex Haley, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and the movies Mississippi Burning and American History X.
The Great Migration is more than a history lesson for me; it is the archetypal story of humans moving forward to overcome the stagnancy that keeps them from living their truths. This same story is one that makes teaching writing a joy. How else, except through the written word, can we fully communicate our own realities so others can understand?