by Karen Grigsby Bates
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
- Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an African American social reformer, orator, writer, former slave, and leading abolitionist. In this speech delivered to a crowd of abolitionists in New York, Douglass reminds his audience of the inherent hypocrisy of an "Independence Day" for people enslaved.Pair “A Defiant Muhammad Ali Was Cherished by Black Men” with “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and ask students to think about how the relationship between the two pieces. How does Douglass’s identification of the tension between the traditionally American values of freedom and liberty and the history of the country’s treatment of its black citizens mirror Ali’s stance on the Vietnam War? Do you see parallels between the activism of the two men? Did they differ in their means of inspiring others?
On Being Brought from Africa to America
- Phillis Wheatley
In this rhyme- and rhythm-rich poem, Phillis Wheatley describes being brought to America from Africa and its influence on her religious beliefs.Pair “A Defiant Muhammad Ali Was Cherished by Black Men” with “On Being Brought from Africa to America” and have students consider how the poem relates to and informs the role religion played in Ali’s life and activism. How does the form of Wheatley’s poem affect its tone? Is this in line with the sentiments expressed by Ali, based on the quotation of his and the general description of his behavior and the effect it had on those who followed his life and career?
How Jackie Robinson Changed Baseball
- Jessica McBirney
In “How Jackie Robinson Changed Baseball,” Jessica McBirney discusses the life and accomplishments of Jackie Robinson, the first African American Major League baseball player.Pair “A Defiant Muhammad Ali Was Cherished by Black Men” with “How Jackie Robinson Changed Baseball” and ask student to discuss how Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson’s success in sports contributed to the Civil Rights Movement. Many people view these two men as heroes: why do you think this is? What qualities do they share can be considered heroic? How did these two men combat racism in different ways?