F20 Black Atlantic: Resources, Pedagogy, and Scholarship on the 18th Century Black Atlantic

Black Women in Slave Narratives---A Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

Oroonoko: or, The Royal Slave makes me think about black women voices in black slave narratives. During the reading, I asked myself, “When is Imoinda going to speak?”  The reader sees her through the lens of Orooknoko and his grandfather. This made me think of a lesson plan concerning the black woman’s roles in the black slave narrative. How do gender and race intersect in slave narratives? I will be excluding Oroonoko from this lesson plan because it is a work of prose fiction by a white woman. I want to only focus on North American black voices, and it can be fiction and non-fiction.

Texts to Observe:
Supplementary Articles/ Book Chapters:

Week I: Introduce the historical background of the slave narrative. Students will be required to read Equiano’s and Sharpes work. They will begin to consider colonialism and the black slave narrative. What themes can you see? Are black women in Equiano’s text? What are there roles?

Week II: Students will be required to begin reading Douglass’ text, and it will be paired with Olney’s article. From here, students will read one of the most famous narratives. Olney’s text will help students understand the formula for the black slave narrative. Most importantly, students will begin to question the role of black women in this text.

Week III: Students will be required to read Jacobs’ text and this will be pared with McKittrick’s article. They will do a compare and contrast to Douglass and Jacobs work. Are there specific gendered histories of these texts? Are these texts used for resistance? How?

Week IV: Students will be required to read Brown’s Clotel. Though Clotel is at the center of this work, does she truly have a voice?


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