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Category: Poetry and Literature

One woman watches as another examines with a magnifying glass an ornate, decorative image on a printed page

Frederick Douglass: Activist and Autobiographer

Posted by: Cheryl Lederle

Last November, we published a post addressing the controversies associated with Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A recent comment pointed out that Huck's views on slavery are those of the dominant society of the time. Because the post featured a letter from Frederick Douglass as a supplement to the novel, the commenter wondered "why not present the experiences and views of the oppressed rather than the oppressor?" That struck me as an intriguing question, so here are a few places to start exploring those views and experiences with your students.

Poster Alerting Blacks of the presence of slave catchers in Boston

Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Fugitive Slave Act

Posted by: Cheryl Lederle

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was widely influential when it was published in 1852. The Library's “Sources and Strategies” article in the May 2014 issue of Social Education, the journal of NCSS, discusses the influence of the novel. Perhaps just as important as its effect, however, was Stowe’s original impetus for writing it.

One woman watches as another examines with a magnifying glass an ornate, decorative image on a printed page

Kate DiCamillo: Stories Connect Us

Posted by: Cheryl Lederle

The role of the Ambassador is to raise “national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.” DiCamillo, the fourth to hold this position, has chosen “Stories Connect Us” as her theme, saying “When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see each other.”

Poster advertising a slave sale

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn: Controversy at the Heart of a Classic

Posted by: Cheryl Lederle

Despite the controversies, Huckleberry Finn has remained a staple in high school literature study because teachers seek to engage students with texts that provoke discussion and questions. Primary sources from the Library of Congress can help deepen students' thinking around the issues central to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and other literary works.