by Jessica McBirney
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.
We Wear the Mask
- Paul Laurence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was an influential African American poet, the son of freed slaves, and friend of Frederick Douglass. In “We Wear the Mask,” Dunbar introduces the idea of hiding behind a metaphorical mask.Pair “We Wear the Masks” with “Plessy v. Ferguson” to help students explore what life in America was like for African Americans after the Civil War. Ask students to discuss why African Americans would feel compelled to wear “masks” in a post-Civil War America. How do both texts explore how African Americans were treated if they expressed the anger or disappointment they felt for America?
Showdown in Little Rock
This informational text explores the 1957 incident in Little Rock, Arkansas where white segregationists and the governor illegally tried to block black students from integrating into white schools.Pair “Showdown in Little Rock” with “Plessy v. Ferguson” to provide students with information about America after race-based segregation was made illegal. Ask students to discuss how America transitioned from Jim Crow period to the end of legal segregation. How do both texts explore how people attempted to keep African Americans in positions of little power?
The Scottsboro Boys
- Jessica McBirney
In “The Scottsboro Boys,” Jessica McBirney discusses the historic event in which nine black boys were wrongfully accused and convicted of assault.Pair “The Scottsboro Boys” with “Plessy v. Ferguson” to provide students with additional information about legal processes in the Jim Crow South. Ask students to discuss how both court cases contributed to change in America. How do both texts show how the justice system treated African Americans unfairly?