This age-appropriate lesson plan explores the life and contributions of gay African American literary icon James Baldwin. As one of the very few openly gay black men of his era, Baldwin had a vantage point from which to observe the American Experience. Part American patriot, part black dissident, part gay radical, part moral arbiter – Baldwin wrote the groundbreaking novels Giovanni’s Room and Go Tell It on The Mountain to capture life through the intersectional lens of his various outsider identities. His open hostility for injustice made him a critical literary voice during the height of the Black Civil Rights Movement – even though he was not allowed to be a public part of it. His intolerance for racism drove him to spend most of his adult life as an American Ex-Patriot living in Paris. Nevertheless, he toured college and university campuses throughout the United States in the late 50s and early 60s to inspire white student support for the cause that was tearing the country apart. Like all Legacy Project lesson plans, this document highlights four different learning tracks according to James Banks's multicultural education model and Bloom's Taxonomy. Tracks 1 - 4 are roughly structured to align with the cognitive retention and synthesis capabilities of students from early-to-mid Elementary School (Track 1); late Elementary-to-early Middle School (Track 2); late Middle School-to-early High School (Track 3); and early-to-late High School.
Suggested Study Subject Integration: Social Justice, Black History, LGBTQ History, American Literature, the Civil Rights Movement