Thursday, December 8, 2011

Montgomery Bus Boycott

"My feets is weary, but my soul is rested."
The Montgomery Bus Boycott officially started on December 1, 1955. That was the day when the blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded. It was not, however, the day that the movement to desegregate the buses started. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1943 when a black seamstress named Rosa Parks paid her bus fare and then watched the bus drive off as she tried to re-enter through the rear door, as the driver had told her to do. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1949 when a black professor Jo Ann Robinson absentmindedly sat at the front of a nearly empty bus, then ran off in tears when the bus driver screamed at her for doing so. Perhaps the movement started on the day in the early 1950s when a black pastor named Vernon Johns tried to get other blacks to leave a bus in protest after he was forced to give up his seat to a white man, only to have them tell him, "You ought to knowed better." [2] The story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott is often told as a simple, happy tale of the "little people" triumphing over the seemingly insurmountable forces of evil. The truth is a little less romantic and a little more complex.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

SWEET POTATO PIE by Eugenia Collier

Sweet Potato Pie by Eugenia Collier

When the Civil War ended, many owners of large Southern plantation split their land up into small plots and set up sharecropping arrangements with former slaves and poor whites. The sharecroppers farmed the land, turning over a share of the crop to the landowners. In return, the landowners gave them seed, tools, and a place to live. Most sharecroppers worked very hard but lived in great poverty, subject to the whim of landowners, weather, and insect blights.

In this selection, Eugenia Collier gives readers a glimpse of what life was like for a family of sharecroppers.

Sweet Potato Pie Resources

Harlem: A History in Pictures

To the narrator, visiting the Harlem area of New York City is like returning "to some mythic ancestral home." This Web site provides a glimpse into the history and importance of Harlem. After reading the information, record in the Web Links Activity Log some of the reasons why Harlem is considered by many to be the cultural and political center of the African American world.

Cooking African American Style

African American food, especially sweet potato pie, plays a central role in Eugenia Collier's story. Visit this site to learn more about the origins of African American cooking. Be sure to click on the Desserts link at the bottom of the page and try out the recipe for sweet potato pie.