On St. John’s and Franklin Avenue
by Mahogany L. Browne
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Workshop Title: Gentrification
Show your students the embedded video. Then ask them if, when, or how they have been witness/subject to gentrification. Give them time to discuss their thoughts and feelings.
Read “On St. John’s and Franklin Avenue” by Mahogany L. Browne. Then discuss the variety of ways the speaker feels about the issue.
Give them time to map out their feelings, the different ways that being “displaced” or being witness to such actions made them feel. Encourage them to come up with more than one emotion to describe their response.
Have them write a poem similar to “On St. John’s and Franklin Avenue” by Mahogany L. Browne in which they convey their feelings toward the act of gentrification.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Various
This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are: diction, selection of detail, syntax, and tone.
Open the following presentation and go over the first few slides with them to give them some context to the poem they are about to read and to introduce them to the concept of “complexity.”
Read “On St. John’s and Franklin Avenue” by Mahogany L. Browne with your students (embedded in the presentation). As they read, have them pay close attention to the variety of emotions the speaker feels (much like Tracy Morgan) as she talks about the changes in the neighborhood and her experience walking down the road.
After you’ve gone through the directions in the poem, have your students open the following document. Then give your students time to work on the assignment. In this assignment, they are to break down the speaker’s “complex response” and compose an introductory paragraph that reflects the variety of emotions the speaker derives from that experience.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another. If time permits, share the exemplar essay with them.
- Community / Culture
- Home / Homelessness
- Race / Ethnicity / Racism
- Selection of Detail
- Structure (Syntax)