The Work

I think I’m busier than I have ever been in my life. Even though it’s summer – supposedly a time of rest for teachers – I’ve committed myself to a range of worthwhile projects that are going to mean some real work over the next few months.

First and foremost, my book on the Whitehurst Case is due to the publisher in September, with the goal of a publishing date to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of Bernard Whitehurst, Jr.’s death on December 2. The manuscript is probably eighty to ninety per cent finished. The months of June and July will be full of writing, revising, interviewing, and researching, so that the loose ends can be tied up in August and the manuscript delivered on time. That quick turnaround time between delivery and publication is also going to mean that it’s got to be clean, thorough, accurate, well-documented and virtually ready to print. No pressure . . .

Most pressing in terms of time has been the reading and preparations for a the Alabama Humanities Foundation’s SUPER teacher professional-development program, “Slave Narratives: Their Impact on Fiction and Film.” (I’m attending this one as a participant, not as a lecturer.) I received eight books – three slave narratives and five novels – in May to have read by mid-June. Luckily, I had already read two of the novels in recent years, and had read one of the novels when I was in school (a long time ago)— but re-reading was necessary for those, too. While the books have all been enlightening and enjoyable, the volume of reading did take real effort.

Beyond those endeavors, I committed last year to write the curriculum guide for a educational traveling exhibit on Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. and the Freedom Riders, for the Freedom Riders Museum in Montgomery. While this project will not be cumbersome, writing lesson plans is more detailed than a person might think. Turning objectives into activities, and correlating those activities to ACOS standards takes thought and care.

Finally, my presentation for the Community Legacy Project grant can’t take a back seat. I’ve already begun work on it, but its due date is furthest away. Putting together a thirty-minute teacher professional development unit on how I have worked as a community-based arts educator is going to require lots of editorial thought, as well as shooting video, doing voice-overs, and organizing the information in a way that says a lot in a little space. Again, no pressure . . .

So, new blog posts will be more scant throughout the summer— until these projects are completed. Meanwhile, the weekly quotes will keep coming, as will the “Southern movie of the month” for July and the thirteenth installment of “Some Other News from Around the Deep South.”

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