As a graduate student researching sensationalism in the early twentieth century Black Press, I discovered that the Baltimore Afro-American (AFRO) was one of the most sensational newspapers of the early 20th century. Dr. Hayward ‘Woody’ Farrar Jr.’s work The Baltimore Afro-American, 1892-1950 confirmed my observations. As the only full-length study of the paper, Dr. Farrar’s work quickly became one of several key books on the Black Press I would carry with me for the next three years as I completed my project. So, it was with great sadness that I learned that Dr. Farrar recently passed away at the age of 63.
Five Ways to Use Wordle to Teach the History of the Black Press
As print newspapers increasingly become less relevant in the day to day lives of young students, how can educators help them understand the instrumental role that the Black Press played in African Americans’ fight for civil rights? The open source program Wordle provides innovative methods to engage student in the history of black newspapers.
Wordle allows students and instructors to create words clouds from text that is entered into the program. It sifts through the words, organizing them into a pattern using the most commonly occurring words in the text. The user can edit the shape, colors and font in the cloud. If there are words that do not fit a desired pattern, users can remove them by right-clicking on the word.
There are numerous ways that educators at all levels might use Wordle to teach about the Black Press. Here are five ways to get started: