What happens in Jena? Is segregation back or still vivid in Southern sates of the US? Depending on the level of your students, you can deal with this current event in different ways. With advanced students, you can deal with the controversy; with intermediate students, I think it is better to keep to the facts, and link them to a traditional study of racism and segregation around Jim Crow, MLK Rosa Parks or Emmett Till, or the poem Strange Fruit or some of the films we often use like Mississippi burning.
[ To find ideas to study these themes, look for them in the archives of Infonews:
A real case of racism and segregation in the traditional South of the USA, or a story made of unrelated events that got out of proportion? Were the incidents worth a rally? Is the press trying to minimize the events? If you really want to investigate the case, it’s better to work with advanced students and read several articles. I especially like this article from ABC News : it is 4 pages long, but features several testimonies of people living in the area, and also a good picture of the local context and way of life.
a slightly shorter version of the same article on the Associated Press website:
and another shorter one on MTV, refering to the AP article
You can find information and audio files on NPR, with interviews of parents of the Jena 6 and a reflection on how people get organised through blogs to protest:
It is also interesting to follow how to page about Jena in Wikipedia evolves. You can read the warnings about :
– the fact that the content of the article is currently disputed (with a link to a talk page);
– that the article needs reliable references, and can be challenged and/or removed
– that it is a current event and that the content can change as the event progresses.
And I think that this can be the opportunity to show the students how an article on Wikipedia is made, discussed and evolves, and remind them that they must always verify their sources and make sure they are reliable. (too many students tend to consider wikipedia as the bible!)
On e-teach, Catherine Serreau recommends this very well done video from which you can train your students to pick up dates and the related facts (just invite them to build a table with entries like : when, who, what happened, what were the consequences)
you can watch the video on You Tube
and download it from here
The above address is the download address that I got from Save Video. Then you just right click on the address and download it as “jena.flv”, and you will of course need a FLV reader to read it.
Here is the page from Save Video to get the address:
And you go there to download a free FLV player:
You can also get a longer version of this video on Philebrity (last video on the right)
and you can easily download this video with Videodownloader, the add on for Mozilla Firefox
She also recommends this other video on France 24, with transcript:
On Liste Anglais from Rouen, Vincent Dorange recommends this video from CNN, with a full transcript. It is about the rally that took place in Jena on September 20th to ask for a fair trial for one of the black boy who was sentenced to jail.
He also recommends the site “free the Jena 6” created by the people who organised the petition and the rally. You can find there lots of articles and links to NPR audio files with transcript and Democracy Now videos.
On e-teach, Marie-Christine Silvestri told us about “this video clip accompanying one of the songs by John Mellencamp called Jena. The clip (of poor quality but free) presents a mixture of current events and Civil Rights demonstrations, Kennedy, MLK, drawings showing black slaves, etc… (Adding fuel to the fire by perpetuating clichés and stereotypes? A “sound” wake-up call? Both? What else?…)
More about the video here:
J.Mellencamp official website, where you can watch the video, hear the song, and read the lyrics
And for those who don’t know what happened in Jena, She recommends those articles and audio reports from NPR: