Paired Texts > The Cotton Club
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.
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 “How Jackie Robinson Changed Baseball” with “The Cotton Club” and ask students to discuss similar examples of segregation and discrimination in the two texts. How did the success of African Americans explored in each text contribute to the future change?
Claude McKay was a civil rights activist and Jamaican American writer. In "On Broadway" (1922), a speaker longingly looks at a bright city scene from which he feels isolated.Pair “On Broadway” with “The Cotton Club” and ask students to discuss how the two authors depict this time in Harlem. What contrasting ideas and emotions do these to texts explore? How does McKay’s portrayal of this time through poetry contribute to students’ understanding of segregation and discrimination during this time?
In the informational text "Louis Armstrong," Jessica McBirney describes the life and contributions of the famous trumpet player.Pair “Louis Armstrong” with “The Cotton Club” to provide students with additional information on an influential musician that played at the Cotton Club. After reading about the representation of African American entertainers during this time, why do students think Armstrong kept his social opinions to himself?
In the informational text "The Harlem Renaissance," Jessica McBirney discusses how the movement developed and the effect it had on America.Pair “The Cotton Club” with “The Harlem Renaissance” to provide students with additional information concerning the Harlem Renaissance. How does “The Cotton Club” describe the racial injustice that African Americans faced in the North? How is the Cotton Club an example of how African Americans established themselves in the arts during this time?
Jessica McBirney's informational text "Duke Ellington" discusses the life and accomplishments of the popular musician.Pair “The Cotton Club” with “Duke Ellington” to provide students with additional information regarding one of the clubs where Ellington performed. How does “The Cotton Club” contribute to students understanding of the discrimination African American performers faced during this time? What additional information does the article provide students about Ellington’s influence?
In Langston Hughes' poem "Harlem," a speaker wonders about what happens when dreams are postponed.Pair “The Cotton Club” with “Harlem” to provide students with information about Harlem during the 1920s and 1930s. How would students describe the experiences of African American entertainers during this time? What obstacles might Harlem have presented African American entertainers who were trying to realize their dream?