In September 2023, Humanities Texas held a webinar for English language arts (ELA) teachers on strategies for teaching the poems of Phillis Wheatley Peters.
Held in partnership with the Phillis Wheatley Peters Project (Texas Christian University and the University of Georgia), this program was part of a yearlong celebration marking the 250th anniversary of the publication of Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, widely considered the first book of poetry by an African American author. The two webinars offered a nuanced consideration of Wheatley’s texts, contexts, and cultural legacies.
The first webinar explored the poet’s historical, literary, and cultural contexts and provide an overview of her major works. The second focused on teaching those works through close reading and poetic analysis. Both webinars highlighted the most important takeaways for middle and high school students.
Like all Humanities Texas teacher programs, the webinar emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of texts, and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities.
The program faculty included the codirectors of the Phillis Wheatley Peters Project, Barbara McCaskill (University of Georgia) and Mona Narain and Sarah Ruffing Robbins of Texas Christian University.
The webinar took place over Zoom on September 20 and 27. The schedule is available here.
The webinar was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.