In our English 12 class, we are reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. The novel was first published in 1952 and was awarded the National Book Award in 1953. Modern Library named it the 19th-best novel of the 20th Century and Time Magazine positioned it in the top 100 Best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Invisible Man tells the story of an unnamed narrator navigating American society prior to the Civil Rights-era.
As a tie-in with the book’s primary theme, students are researching a group or demographic that is “invisible” in our community. In other words, who is often unseen, under-represented, or possibly misunderstood? Although this project lends itself well to topics related to social justice, students have the freedom to research virtually any population they feel qualifies for the “invisible” label.
Furthermore, we’d like to attend a play at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, February 10. The play, called All The Way, depicts President Lyndon B. Johnson's efforts to maneuver members of the 88th United States Congress to enact, and civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr. to support, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The play takes its name from Johnson's 1964 campaign slogan, "All the Way with LBJ." (All the Way won the 2014 Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.)
I have personally taken a group of students to five other plays/performances at the DCPA over the years. The experience for students is always incredibly rewarding. The cultural and educational elements add symbiotic connections to what we’re doing in the classroom. Plus, the plays are fun – even the ones with serious topics.
Of course, with any undertaking like this, there is an additional cost. We will be attending a student matinee, which is heavily discounted, and taking district busses downtown to the theater. (Unfortunately, for liability reasons, we cannot let students drive on their own and meet us there.) So, the total cost per student is $20. However, I have always taken every single student who wants to go. The price should not be a deterrent for anybody. I’ll talk with students privately if there is any financial issue.