What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
(Langston Hughes, “Harlem”)
Recently I began to volunteer once a week, assisting the English literature teacher in a nearby Arab high school. I’ve known the teacher, and the principal, for many years, through arranging encounters for their students with Jewish visitors, and this seems like a good way to stay in touch and involved. My first assignment was to present a background lesson to two 10th-grade classes studying a poem by Langston Hughes (“the poet laureate of Harlem,” who died in 1967). This assignment meant covering slavery, emancipation, the Civil War, Jim Crow, and the civil rights struggle, in simple English, assuming almost no historical background, in 40 minutes. Interesting challenge.