I absolutely loved using the lesson plan, “Poetry of Defiance: How the Enslave Resisted.” My African American History students used the mixer activity to build background knowledge about leaders in the African American community during the period of U.S. slavery and how their expressions of agency differed in their resistance to being held in bondage. We talked as a class about the differences between passive and overt resistance and classified the tactics used by these leaders into those two categories.
From there, students used the examples of methods of resistance to write structured “Write That I” poems that used the power of repetitive language and structure to creatively express the struggles and grassroots pushbacks against slavery that were learned through the primary source experiences of enslaved persons utilizing methods of resistance. Students were able to make connections to acts of resistance in the face of adversity today as well. We displayed our poems in an exhibit box in the front of our school.