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Claudette owed at least part of who she was to what she learned from those who came before her–Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass. Choices she made were influenced by the choices of others “to work hard and [cause] trouble so Black people would be treated fairly.” When you read aloud Because Claudette, get students thinking about who has greatly inspired them and how historical figures and events have influenced who they are.
Share your own story with students about someone from your life and their influence on you. Then ask students to think about people from their past who have had an impact on them—a family member, friend, neighbor, teacher, coach, or someone else. Have students create a poem that looks back on how that person or people shaped who they are today, using the format in this example:
I am a reader
Because of Mrs. Jeter
Because she was a good teacher
Because she let me pick out whatever books I wanted
Because she had lots of books in her classroom
Because her mother was a librarian
I am a reader
Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing
- What does the word “because” mean?
- Who was Claudette and what did she do? If you were Claudette, what would you do in her situation?
- Why was she arrested? Why do you think Claudette’s classmates did not treat her as a hero after she was arrested?
- Who was Rosa Parks? What did Claudette have in common with her?
- How did Claudette create change? What impact did she have on the Civil Rights Movement? How is that impact felt today?
- Who inspired Claudette? How do you carry her history with you?
- Wonder of the Day: Who Is Claudette Colvin? from Wonderopolis
- 2022 NCTE National African American Read-In with Because Claudette
- March 2, 1955: Claudette Colvin Refuses to Give Up Her Bus Seat resources from Zinn Education Project
Activist, author, and NEA’s Read Across America Ambassador Marley Dias makes a reading connection with Tracey Baptiste
More Titles to Try
- Rosa Nikki Giovanni
- Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott Dee Romito
- Women in the Civil Rights Movement Kesha Grant
- A Sweet Smell of Roses Angela Johnson
- Child of the Civil Rights Movement Paula Young Shelton
- 12 Incredible Facts about the Montgomery Bus Boycott Lois Sepahban