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Exploring College Summer 2013

Library activity for students in Long Division: History, Fiction and Self-Narration Professors: Albert Cook and Eve Dunbar

Goals of Activity

  • Research a historical event mentioned in the novel Long Division by Kiese Laymon.

  • Explore and compare how different perspectives are presented in mainstream press, ethnic press and regional publications.

  •  Learn how librarians and libraries can assist you in finding many different types of sources from multiple perspectives.  All you have to do is ask!


1. As a class, we will consider what keywords would be best to use in searches in newspapers forthe following Civil Rights Era historic events mentioned in Long Division:

  • SNCC - Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Freedom Summer/Freedom Schools

2. Divide into groups.  Each class of 10 should spilt into 2 groups of 3 and one group of 4. Each group will be assigned a historical event and each group member will be given a number 1-3.

3. Based on your number, the Newspapers tab of this guide will direct you about what newspaper you are reading. Using the provided link, search for your event in your assigned newspaper. Read one article. Take notes as you read:

  • What is the date of your article - how long after the event occured?
  • What page is the article on, where is it located on the page and how long is the article?
  • What is the headline?
  • What language or specific words stand out to your in the article?
  • What do you feel is the perspective of the article and its main point?

4. After each member of the group has read an article, talk in your small groups.  Each person should describe the language and perspective of the article they read. After each person has spoken about their article, talk a bit about how you think the various articles seemed to compare to each other.

5. Next we will regroup.  All the 1s together, the 2s and the 3s/4s. Read the suggested Wikipedia article sections about your newspaper and discuss if you think your interpretations of the paper's perspective and audience are consistent with what Wikipedia describes.

6. As a large group, we'll talk briefly about what main ideas were learned today.

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