Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People by Carole Boston Weatherford. Philomel Books, 2001
1. The poem, “The Millionaire,” pays tribute to Madam C. J. Walker, the first black woman self-made millionaire. In the early 20th century, Madam Walker invented hair care and beauty productsthat were sold door to door. Imagine that you are an inventor. In a paragraph, describe your invention, its unique features and its particular appeal to consumers. Create a magazine advertisement for your invention. Your ad should include: a picture of the invention, a headline, a message urging consumers to buy the product, its price and a tag line containing your company’s slogan.
2. The poem, “The Conductor Was a Woman,” follows Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad. Since slaves didn’t have compasses, they used the North Star, also known as Polaris to guide them to freedom. the two outer stars that form the bowl of the Big Dipper point to the North Star at the tip of th handle of the Little Dipper. The North Star is always in the North. Have students plot the Big Dipper, Little Dipper and the North Star on black or blue construction paper with chalk or adhesive stars.
3. The poem, “Slaves’ Chores,” depicts a hard day’s work on the plantation. Ask students to list chores they do around the house and the steps involved in each task. Using these notes, the students will write a poem about housework. The poem may focus on one chore or several.
4. Using Remember the Bridge: Poems of the People, stage a multimedia production of poetry, pantomime, music and digital images. For suggested music, see my Jazz Timeline & Discography that traces African-American musical roots. For digital images, visit online image galleries.