by Teri Ellen Cross Davis
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.
- Saul McLeod
“Self-Concept” introduces several psychology concepts that describe how people think about themselves.Pair “Self-Concept” with “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” and ask students to think about how the ideas in the article could apply to the girl in the poem. How would students describe the speaker’s self-image and self-worth? How do students think the girl in the poem would answer the “Who Am I” question from the article? What ideas about self-worth might the author of the poem be trying to promote?
Learning to Read
- Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Francis Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911) was the child of free African American parents. In her adult life, Harper helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad and wrote for abolitionist newspapers. In this poem, Harper describes what it was like to have been discouraged from learning how to read.Pair “Learning to Read” with “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” and ask students to reflect on the speaker’s identity in each poem. How does each poem show the speaker’s ideas about who they are? How do they highlight experiences that help each speaker build a positive sense of themselves? How does each poem build a positive sense of identity for the larger African American community?
- Li-Young Lee
In Li-Young Lee’s poem “From Blossoms,” the speaker describes eating peaches in the summertime.Pair “From Blossoms” with “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” and ask students to discuss how both authors explore the idea that simple things can bring us joy. What types of experiences bring joy in each poem? How do these simple moments reveal the speakers’ thoughts and feelings about what is valuable in life?
Behind Closed Doors: 'Colorism' in the Caribbean
- Michel Martin
In the interview “Behind Closed Doors: ‘Colorism’ in the Caribbean,” Michel Martin discusses colorism in the Dominican Republic with Frances Robles.Pair “Behind Closed Doors: ‘Colorism’ in the Caribbean” with “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” and ask students to discuss the idea of beauty in each text. How do the speaker in the poem and the people described in the interview have different ideas about what is beautiful? How do you think the author of the poem might respond to common Caribbean attitudes about beauty, and about hair in particular?
This Is Not a Small Voice
- Sonia Sanchez
In Sonia Sanchez’s poem “This Is Not a Small Voice,” the speaker asserts the strength and love of a collective set of people.Pair “This Is Not A Small Voice” with “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” and ask students to discuss the sense of shared African American identity in each poem. How does each poet use imagery to show love and pride in the African American community? Compare and contrast the ways that each poem builds a sense of shared identity.
Akron at Night
- Teri Ellen Cross Davis
In Teri Ellen Cross Davis’ poem “Akron at Night,” a speaker describes driving through Akron with their mother at night.Pair “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” with “Akron at Night” to provide students with another example of Teri Ellen Cross Davis’ poetry. Ask students to discuss the small moments that Davis examines in these two poems and how they explore greater themes. How does Davis’ use of figurative language help convey these themes?
- Teri Ellen Cross Davis
In Teri Ellen Cross Davis’ poem “Process,” a woman describes learning to accept her natural hair.Pair “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” with “Process” and ask students to compare how Teri Ellen Cross Davis describes a speaker’s experience with their hair in the two poems. What does it mean to the speaker in “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” to have her hair braided? How does this compare to the speaker’s feeling about having her hair straightened in “Process”? How is the mother in “East 149th Street (Symphony for a Black Girl)” teaching her daughter to love her natural hair?