Author Feature-Mark Long

 


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

High School

Featured Author

Mark Long

Mark Long

Silence of Our Friends

 

Mark Long is a transmedia producer of thirty one video games, three graphic novels and two feature films. Long serves on the University of Washington Games advisory panel and is a member of the Producer's Guild in Hollywood. Long has also served on a number of technical advisory boards and government committees including the Serious Games Summit, the National Science Foundation and the University of Washington Human Interface Laboratory. Long had a Research and Development career that spanned three laboratories: the Sarnoff Research Center, the Institute for Advanced Technology, and General Dynamics' Combined Arms Systems Engineering Laboratory. Long received his BS at the University of Texas, where he also received his commission in the US Army. He retired from the US Army with the rank of Major and is the recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal.


 

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Academic Program
How Far Have We Come? 

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Introduction

To fully understand any progress that has been made in Civil Rights, we must know where we started and what has happened along the way. To do this, a time line is extremely helpful. Also the student needs to have knowledge of the times and culture of the past. Many of today's students probably have little familiarity with the Jim Crow Laws and their impact.

Professional Resources

List of TEKS – Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills – A-Z 

Activity One - Jim Crow Laws

A brief over view of the Jim Crow Laws will set the background understanding of the Civil Rights Movement and help students understand what has been accomplished and what still needs to be accomplished. Many students may not have any idea how restricted the lives of our African-American citizens were or that many non African-Americans joined forces to fight for their civil rights. They may not also realize that many others groups have had to fight for their civil rights and that any time one group makes an advance; it helps all other minority groups.

List of Supplies

  • Large sheets of paper to list and post the details students discover through their research into the Jim Crow Laws
  • Markers
  • Internet access
  • Books that deal with the period and civil rights such as, The Great Age of Change by William E. Leuchtenburg and other books which can be found in the Read-A-Like Bibliography and the Annotated Bibliography.
  • Paper
  • Printer

Program Description

Students will research the Jim Crow Laws in order to understand the culture of our country in the 1960s and the background of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Using web sites such as The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow and books that deal with the era students will develop an understanding of the Jim Crow Laws and the culture it inspired.

TEKS

  • United States Government 113.44 b1, 2, 5, 7A, 7B, 8

Resources

Activity Two - Civil Rights Time Line

Once students have discovered Jim Crow, they need to develop a time line of Civil Rights in the United States. There are several available online, but developing their own will make this more meaningful.

List of supplies

  • Butcher Paper or similar
  • Markers
  • Photos, drawings, et al. collected from research or copied from books to illustrate the time line
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape

Program Description

Using books and web sites such as Civil Rights Movement Timeline the students will build an illustrated time line of the events they discover in their research.

TEKS

  • United States Government 113.44 b1, 2, 5, 7A, 7B, 8

Resources

Activity Three - "Do You Guys Want to Walk With Me?"

On page 187 of The Silence of Our Friends the book recalls the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and a march that illustrates how his death impacted the movement.

Students will research the impact of the various marches for civil rights, who took part in them, and write a short essay on why these marches helped us (Americans) overcome some of our long held prejudices (to the benefit of all minorities).

TEKS

  • United States Government 113.44 b1, 2, 5, 7A, 7B, 8
  • English 1, 2, 3, 4: A2a; B1a, c, d, e

Activity Four - Have We Truly Reached Equality?

List of Supplies

  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long
  • Quote from Mark Long
  • Drawing supplies


Program Description

This activity is the culmination of the Academic Program, pulling all of the activities together into an understanding of where we truly are now in relation to true equality for all.

Using the drawings on page 187 of The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, art by Nate Powell, and the quote about the events that inspired the page, students will choose:

  1. To write an essay about how far we have come, working together, to reach our ideal of equality for all
  2. To write an essay about what still needs to be accomplished by working together
  3. To create their own graphic (cartoon) illustrating these concepts.

Resources

Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long

TEKS

  • United States Government 113.44 b1, 2, 5, 7A, 7B, 8
  • English 1, 2, 3, 4: A2a; B1a, c, d, e


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Active Program

A Night of Reflection

Printable Copy

Introduction

The purpose of this program is to allow community members to reflect on far they have come, where they are now, and how far they have yet to go. Teens will present the products of the activities listed to create an evening presentation for the community.

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
  • The Passion of My Times: An Advocates Fifty Year Journey in the Civil Rights Movement by William L. Taylor
  • Speaking Out: The Civil Rights Movement 1950-1964 by Kevin Supples
  • Woman's Suffrage in America by Elizabeth Frost Knappman and Kathryn Cullen-DuPontSisters: The Lives of America's Suffragists by Jean H. Baker
  • Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Patti Kelly Criswell
  • Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig and Beth Adams
  • The Bullying Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Deal with Social Aggression and Cyberbullying by Julia V. Taylor
  • Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens by Kathy Belge

Activity #1- Community Oral History Project

List of Supplies

  • Recording Device
  • Pen
  • Paper

Description of Activity

The purpose of this particular activity is to teach teens the skills needed to conduct their oral history interviews that will then be turned into an oral history reader's theater presentation. The oral history interviews are intended to focus on the 1960s & the Civil Rights Movement. There are many websites that go into great detail on how to conduct a good oral history interview. The sites will be listed at the end of this activity's description. It is highly suggested that you take the time to read through on or two of these sites in depth to help flesh out your knowledge of what an oral history is and best way to conduct one.

Hint: If you are looking people willing to give an oral history interview go ahead and do the Passive Activity listed with this programing and solicit pictures from community members. These community members may be willing to talk about that period in their lives. Also feel free to post the flyer found at the end of this program around your library to solicit possible interviewees. Do not forget social media or placing a PR release in your local newspaper.

Basics of Oral History Collection

Start by asking yourself "What IS oral history?"
According to the Step-by-Step Guide to Oral History at http://dohistory.org/on_your_own/toolkit/oralHistory.html

"Oral history is the systematic collection of living people's testimony about their own experiences. Oral history is not folklore, gossip, hearsay, or rumor. Oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyze them, and place them in an accurate historical context. Oral historians are also concerned with storage their findings for use by later scholars."

Before the Interview

  1. Goal/Focus- What is the goal, focus, purpose in conducting your oral history interview?
  2. 2. Research- Do not go to your interview empty handed: research the time, place, and period for the person you will be interviewing. For this oral history project, know something about the Civil Rights Movement and the events that took place around your community before you begin interviewing your community members.
  3. 3. Decide what equipment to use for recording your interview and test it out beforehand!
  4. 4. Make a list of potential questions before and practice them before your interview. If you are searching for a list of premade questions, try out The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Life Guide. For tips on how to ask oral history questions look at A Step-by-Step to Guide to Oral History.
  5. Schedule your interview and call to confirm the date and time two days before the interview.

During the Interview

  1. Use a quiet place: Find a quiet place to conduct your interview. Refrain from areas that have auditory distractions such as barking dogs, doors opening and shutting, other conversations, chewing gum, etc.
  2. When recording the interview begin by stating, the date, time, location, and person being interviewed.
  3. Speak one at a time and give breaks for silence. This will allow the interviewee to think through and process there answer better.
  4. Ask open ended questions instead or yes or no questions.
  5. Limit the time you will conduct your interview to no more than 2 hours.

After the Interview

  1. Label your recordings immediately after the interview.
  2. Consider having a release form signed by the interviewee.
  3. Write and send a thank you note to your interviewee.
  4. Copy your interview in multiple places and/or formats.
  5. Listen to your interview several times and begin to select what portions of the interview you believe would best be suited to the reader's theater presentation.

Don't Forget

Be creative in your interview recording formats. Since tape recorders are nearly nonexistent feel free to use social media. Could you conduct an interview on Skype? Check out StoryCorps. This is nonprofit organization dedicated to recording stories. They have several ways that you can record your story. To find more just follow the steps below:

  1. Go to http://storycorps.org/
  2. Go to About Us and click on Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Scroll down to Participating in StoryCorps
  4. Click on How Can I record My Story?

Activity #2- Create Your Picket Lines

Introduction

This program leads teens through the process of creating picket line signs for three different time periods: past, present and future.

List of Supplies

  • Poster Board
  • Wooden Stacks
  • Markers, pencils, etc.

Description of Activity

Oral History Picket Line

Begins with a large group discussion, encouraging teens to share what they thought were some of the most potent memories relayed during their oral histories interviews. Why were these events so impactful? What made the teens feel that way? Encourage teens to share both positive and negative points.

Next, explain to teens that they are going to create three picket signs as a part of their presentation to the community. The first picket sign will be selected based on the points chosen from their oral history interviews. The second picket sign will be inspired by situations the teens themselves are dealing with today. To help teens fully understand the history of a picket line it is best to take a few moments to explain some of the history behind protests in general. For instance, examples of different types of protest could be given to teens such as violent vs. nonviolent protest, sit-ins vs. marches, What is a strike?, What is a picket line?, etc. Teens could also benefit from looking at different protest groups or figures, such as Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Panthers, Gandhi, the Suffragettes, the Temperance Movement, Susan B. Anthony, etc.

Once teens have a clear understanding of what a protest is and what a picket line is, have them start by making a picket sign for the point they have chosen to highlight from their oral history interview. Emphasis should be made to place a succinct saying or word on their picket sign. In other words, explain to teens that whole sentences or paragraphs are do not work well on picket signs, since the message on the picket sign needs to be quickly read by someone passing by.

Picket Line for Modern Times

The second part of the activity can be done during the same session or it can be assigned and brought back to the larger group for discussion at a later point. Teens will begin the process of making picket signs about one major issues they are dealing with today. To start this process, ask the group of teens to journal about an issue that they have had to deal with in their lifetime. Make sure teens understand that they will be sharing their journaling with the larger group of teens and as a part of the presentation for the community. Teens should write about only things they are comfortable with sharing with a group. If teens are having trouble thinking of situations to write about remind them that they can journal about anything so long as the situation described had a large impact on their life. This means that it can be a negative or positive situation. Some topics teens may think about journaling are bullying, terrorism, LGBTQ issues, race, ethnicity, religion, etc.

After the journaling is completed have teens gather in the group to discuss their journal entries. Again, teens can chose to read portions of what they wrote in their journal out loud if that is easier than summarizing what they wrote about. Once teens have shared with the larger group it will be time for them to make a brief verbal reenactment based on their journal entry. Some teens may choose to be very dramatic, while others may simply memorize the words from their journal entry. When the verbal reenactments are completed have teen create picket signs based on that enactment. Remind them that succinct picket board messages work best.

Picket Line for the Future Hopes

Before putting everything together and rehearsing the community presentation teen will need to create a final picket line. This picket line will be based on the hopes teens have for the future. These hopes can be based on the issues the teens themselves are facing or the situations they learned about and highlighted from their oral history interview. Emphasis to teens that while world peace is something that is great to hope for the point of this picket line to come up with concrete things they want to see change in their daily lives. Examples: walking safely to school-i.e. no sale of drugs-drive by shootings, being safe in school-i.e. no gun threats-bomb threats, being able to be the real me- i.e. safety from bullying-sexual orientation is respected, etc.

Activity #3- Putting It All Together for a Community Presentation

List of Supplies

  • Period costume if desired
  • Seating for attendees
  • Microphone/sound system (optional)
  • Refreshments for after community presentation if desired

Description of Activity

The purpose of this activity is to describe how the presentation for the community can be arranged. Begin this activity by asking teens to look for small pieces of historical clothing that they could add to make their character in the first picket line seem more realistic. This costuming should be small so that focus is on the verbal dramatic reenactment of the oral history. Think minimalistic costuming.

After teens have their costumes ready ask them to work in pairs to practice their verbal reenactments for their picket lines. Teens should be able to give their verbal reenactments with minimal glances at their notes. Having eye contact with the audience is important part of giving a good dramatic verbal reenactment.

Tip: Your presentation should probably not last longer than an hour in order to best keep the audience's focus. If you have teens who really don't want present their oral history interview, or you have several teens that are faced with the same modern day issue, ask teens to help pick and choose who should do a dramatic verbal reenactment. You may find that some teens are really good at writing the verbal reenactments and other teens are better at acting them out. In that case you could have a handful teens that do all the verbal reenactment while the rest of the teens are there in the community presentation as extras, props handlers, or help picket line participants change costuming if necessary.

Presentation's Physical Layout

How you decide to do your presentation is ultimately up to the space you have to present it in. This presentation outline is based on the idea of one large rectangular room. A door for the audience and the picketers to enter is located at the back of the room. Chairs could be placed at the back ¾ of the room in three groups so that there are two aisles through which the picketers can enter and proceed to the front of the room to begin the community presentation. (See diagram below for possible layout.)

Presentation Layout

You can chose to mark off areas on either side of the presentation area where costumes, extras, or props could be out of the audience's sight. This area could be done by using black curtains, black paper, or art presentation boards covered in black paper. Whatever your finances will allow.

Suggested Outline of the Evening's Presentation

Once the audience is seated, have teens enter the presentation area from the back of the room so that the picket lines are moving through the audience to the presentation area. Teens should come in carrying their historical picket signs and protesting. Teens will individually present their oral history via dramatic verbal reenactment. You can help teens decide how this should be done. For instance, teens could come in picketing then leave the stage and come on one at a time to present their verbal reenactment. Or teens could come in picketing and when a prearranged cue is given freeze in place and the appointed person steps forward and gives their verbal reenactment at the end of which they move back to their place and the picket begins anew until the cue is given for the next presenter. 

After all the presenters for the historical picket line have given their presentation a brief intermission may be given if time allows. Costumes should be changed and the picket signs for modern day issues can be handed out. If there is not time for an intermission, members of the picket line might briefly disappear behind the "curtain" one-at-a-time to change costume/picket sign until all picketers have transformed from historical to modern. The same format used above in can be used here for the modern day issues picket line. 

Finally, the picket line for future hopes can be presented. Please follow the format given in the previous section. 

After all the verbal reenactments have concluded refreshments can be served. Audience members should be encouraged to engage each other and the teens about the issues presented. 

Tip: The best way to get a great performance put together for the community is by having several rehearsals with all teen participants. Plan on having several rehearsals where teens are just reading through their dramatic reenactments, several rehearsals where teens combine blocking out where they will be throughout the performance (including all entrances and exits), with reading their dramatic reenactments. A final run-through that includes all props, blocking and dramatic reenactments should be run through several times as well.

Professional Resources for Librarian and Teacher 

Books

Oral History for the Local Historical Society by Willa K. Baum

Oral History: An Introduction for Students by James Hoopes

Oral History Program Manual by William W. Moss

Transcribing and Editing Oral History by Willa K. Baum

Websites

Step-By-Step Guide to Oral History

The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide

Oral History Association: Principles and Best Practices for Oral History

Oral History Interviews-Library of Congress

Oral History Interview Techniques

StoryCorps


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Passive Program
Then & Now 

Printable Copy

Introduction

The purpose of this program is to help the community visualize the changes that have occurred in their community since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson
  • The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage by Todd Gitlin
  • America Divided: The Civil War of 1960s by Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin
  • Fifty Fashions that Changed the 1960s by Paul Reed
  • The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook: More than 100 Retro Recipes for the Modern Cook by Rick Rodgers and Heather Maclean
  • My Life with the Lincolns by Gayle Brandeis
  • The Portable Sixties Reader ed. by Ann Charterd
  • Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis
  • A Lesson Before Dying by Earnest J. Gaines
  • Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon

Activity #1- Change: A Communal History

List of Supplies

  • Poster Board
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Newspaper
  • Historical artifacts
  • Materials necessary to decorate the space you will be using to make your display

Description of Activity

Several weeks before posting this display put out a call to your community for pictures, artifacts, news articles etc that illustrate changes in the community in the last 50-60 years. If taking items from the public don't forget to have a way of tracking which items belong to which community members so materials can be returned. You may also consider having lenders sign a liability form for personal items on loan for display (example below).

Don't forget to check your library public library's history or genealogy section for historical photos or newspaper articles. Local schools may have yearbooks or school newspaper archives. The Portal to Texas History has access to photographs as well as newspaper and magazine articles from many historical periods. Below is a flyer that you can post in your library and around your community advertising the need for historical photos.

Details of this display can be determined by the constraints of your library, but it would be best if there is a distinct separation between "then" and "now". For example, you might place all the "old" items on the left side of the board and all the "current" items on the right side. You might also place old and new photographs of the same location/people/activity side-by-side; just make sure you are showing the differences between the current community and its historical self. Make sure to label items so that people unfamiliar with the history of the community can orient themselves. Get creative! This display could be on a bulletin board, book shelf or in a glass case; your imagination is the limit.

Incentives

A small gift card to your local book store for the most unique or inspiring photo submitted by a community member. You can even set up a poll box and allow community members to vote for the winner. If you choose to take public input make sure to number the displayed items so voters can easily identify the item they wish to vote for.

Professional Resources for Librarian and Teacher

Program Flyers, Poster, Advertisements, Bulletin Board Ideas, Templates, Rubrics, etc.

 

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Resources

Academic Program

Active Program

Annotated Bibliography

Passive Program

Community Photos Flyer

Read-A-Likes


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Created on Mar 26, 2014 | Last updated July 15, 2015