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Transcript of English 677
To examine rhetoric in everyday contexts via extensive fieldwork and rigorous use of archival materials.
Course goals include preparing rhetoricians and literacy scholars to research writing and writers in local
contexts, particularly among marginalized populations.
To meet these goals, students worked with a variety of archival materials associated with a common
research site: the Norris Community in Commerce, Texas. Student Projects Allyson Jones Sean FW Lami Adama JP Sloop "'The Word Became Flesh':
Communal Literacy Practices at an African-American Church in East Texas" Abstract: Drawing on observations of adult Sunday school classes and church services at Mt. Moriah Temple Baptist Church in Commerce, Texas, this study examines an African American church’s function as a literacy sponsor (Brandt). Mt. Moriah guides literacy acquisition to help church members achieve direct access to scripture. Church members negotiate the text as a community, using everyday experiences to flesh out the skeletal outlines of Biblical parables. As Shirley Brice Heath notes, “[a]uthority in the written word does not rest in the words themselves, but in the meanings which are negotiated through the experiences of the group” (196). Church members follow a set pattern of movements from private reading and writing to communal negotiation of the text to improvised, interwoven oral professions of faith. Jones attests that the communal negotiation of a text represents an innovative mode of meaning-buildingote taking, and critical analysis. Allyson Jones Sean Ferrier-Watson "Literacy and Racial Identity Development within Black History Month" Excerpts from interviews with research participant Robert Dotson,
Director of the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs" Lami Adama "'Moore' Than Meets the Eye: A Brief Narrative of the Life of Ivory Moore" Hmoud Alotaibi "Literacy Development among International Students in Graduate School" Abstract: Employs surveys and life history research to examine language use patterns among international students in various graduate programs at A&M-Commerce, with particular focus on literacy practices for academic purposes. Finds that international students often approach academic tasks in the American classroom with a mixture of English and their native language(s). Among different skills, language plays a vital role in this research. This research-Isheds light on the skills that the international students already had when they were attending their home schools. Then it shows that the international students have further developed those skills after they arrived at Texas A&M-University Commerce. Debbie Jones "Learning from English Learners" Abstract: Through surveys, life history research, and extensive field observations, the researcher
investigates the literacy histories of English language learners in the current cohort
at Paris Junior College. Study attempts to establish patterns of language use among
ELL students, especially those selected for the Honors Society. Want to know more?
Join us Tuesday, May
11, 1:15-3:15, in Hall of Languages, Room 203
Presentations of final research projects
Spring 2010 Professor Shannon Carter, PhD
Department of Literature and Languages
Texas A&M-Commerce "The language used to describe groups of people creates a legacy and understanding that may define who they are and even how they understand themselves.” Duffy, John. Writing from these Roots: Literacy Among Hmoung-Americans (U of Hawaii 2009) Brandt, Deborah. Literacy in American Lives (Cambridge 2001) “Sponsors are a tangible reminder that literacy learning throughout history has always required permission, sanction, assistance, coercion, or, at a minimum, contact with existing trades routes” (167). Gold, David. Rhetoric at the Margins: Revising the History of Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1873-1947 (Southern Illinois UP 2008) “. . . in a country with such a decontextualized educational system as the United States, national educational histories cannot be understood but in relation to the local communities in which trends both emerge and play out” (152) Wright, Richard. Twelve Million Black Voices (1938) “We black folk, our history and our present being, are a mirror of all the manifold experiences of America. What we want, what we represent, what we endure is what America IS. If we black folks perish, America will perish. [. . .] The differences between black folk and white folk are not blood or color and the ties that bind are deeper than those that separate us. [. . . ] Look at us and know us and you will know yourselves, for we are you, looking back at you from the dark mirror of our lives." (146) Street, Brian V and Adam Lefstein. Literacy: An Advanced Sourcebok
(Routledge, 2009) . A bibliographic/ethnographic study of textbooks used in the Norris School prior to integration. The study attempts to reconstruct the kinds of narratives and teaching styles that would have been available to the students in the Norris Community and how these narratives were received. Many textbooks before and during desegregation depicted African Americans negatively or not at all. Richard L. Hughes notes that “activists and educators offered a steady stream of critiques of textbooks and their inability to reflect America’s multiracial history without the culture’s more enduring racial stereotypes” (201). Negative depictions of African Americans would clearly taint the narratives in these textbooks and possibly corrupt the sense of identity and entitlement of Black students. This study seeks to create a foundation for future research by exploring the impact of biased textual depictions of minorities within a particular community.
Distorted Identities: Explicating Textbook Narratives in a Segregated School in East Texas Sunchai Hamcumpai Sunday Service 1, Mt. Moriah Temple Baptist Church. 7 Mar 2010. Sunday Service 2, Mt. Moriah Temple Baptist Church. 7 Mar 2010. Digitizing The Word: New Media
Ministry at an East Texas Church Sunchai Hamcumpai Follows the literacy narrative of the Sunday School Superintendent and Deacon at a local African-American church, examining how this long-time community-member acquired digital literacy to perform his educational tasks for the church, especially with respect to the various ways developing technologies in the last thirty years changed his approach to text use and production for church business. These tasks include developing reading materials, recording and broadcasting weekly church services, and using the Internet as a promotional tool. The church uses new digital medias to disperse its ideology, enhancing the religious experience. Hacumpai uses oral history interviews and archival research to investigate Turner’s acquisition of new media literacy to motivate the church’s mission. The presentation will be delivered as a video essay, remixed from recorded oral histories and other media. A Short Story Project on Derryle G PeaceMr. and Mrs. Peace were so happy on May 3rd 1952 when they brought another baby boy into the world. It was a boy! "We have another baby boy again after a long time" Mrs. Peace said to her husband. Maybe they did not think of having another child after the first male child of the family was born, no one was sure of that. His parents lived in a small house very close to the airport. Anytime a plane was coming, it felt as if it was going to land on top of their house because of its proximity to the airport. But anyway, this new baby came and they named him Derryle Glen Peace. Derryle was born into a poor family. The family was considered poor because they could not afford the good things of life but at the same time, they were never hungry. They never had their lights cut, or their water disconnected. The bills were paid on time.His mother loved him so much and up till now he can still remember all the good things his mother taught him how to do when he was a child. His mother taught him how to tie his shoes at the age of three. Derrlye was a happy child and everything went on well. But his happy peaceful life with his mother was cut short. Death robbed him of his mother’s attention, love, and care. It happened so fast that when Derryle was four years old, he was already a motherless child. It was so devastating for every member of his family. No one expected Mrs. Peace as young as she was to die at that age. It was said that she died two days to her 29th birthday. And the death of his mother made everyone miserable for a long time. Derryle practically watched his mother die. He could still remember even though he was a child of four. He knew his mother was dying because every night he watched her cry helplessly from the excruciating pain of the terminal disease she had. There was nothing he could do than to watch his mother go through the sleepless nights of pain and sorrow. When his mother died, his grandparents rescued him by taking the responsibility to care for him and his elder brother who was six years and eleven months older than him. Derryle did not know what it meant to have the love of a mother because death did not allow him to enjoy one. But his grandmother was always there for him. In fact, she was a God sent into his life.Derryle was growing very fast and strong that all the members of his family were happy including his grandparents, who were very fond of him. But his grandfather was a man who had no soft side. He was a hard working man and very caring that he never allowed Derryle and his elder brother to go to the corner shops to get anything. Instead, he always provided soda for everyone. He would also visit the farmers market to buy fresh fruits for the family. He understood what it meant to eat healthy. His grandparents were retired and they were living on social security, and so, Derryle was able to have a normal upbringing.As a child, he saw his grandpa always carry pocket knife and a handkerchief in his pockets. And so, as Derryle grew, he began to do that too. Not that his grandpa ever attacked anyone with it, but that was one of the things he loved to do. Derryle learnt it from him and still do that as an adult. Another good thing he learnt from his grandpa was how to dress well and shine his shoes. In fact, his grandpa was a very fashionable man who was always conscious of his looks. While Derryle was growing up, he also learnt from him how to be a hard working man like plumbing and artwork. He emulated his grandpa in some many ways and in so many things that he never regretted he did so.As for his grandma, she was a seamstress. She would bring out the sewing machine and pretend she couldn’t pass a thread through the needle, and she would ask Derryle to help her do it. Of course, at a point, he understood that she was teaching him how to sew.As he was growing up in North Park Dallas, he started to see his elder brother read in the house. Even though his grandmother also read the bible in the house, yet Derryle’s acquisition of literacy started with his elder brother who taught him how to read and write. They had a dictionary, newspapers, and the Bible. And his grandmother was always asking him to look up the meaning of words for her in the dictionary. In fact, newspapers and the bible were major things that his grandma read. Derryle was a unique child who was very serious in acquiring literacy to the extent that when he was in first grade, he already had a library card.Among other things that he loved to read were Comic Magazine and Dallas Express newspaper. Not only that, TV show was one of his favorite stuff he used to watch then even though at a point, all that his family had was one television, but he still managed to watch his own programs when his grandma was not doing that. He loved to watch TV show like Jeopardy, and movies like Green pastures and Imitation of Life. Green pastures was the first black movie made at that time. This movie was their own because it had all black casts and he loved it. However, Imitation of Life was about a black girl who was so fair skinned that she passed for white. And for that reason, she denied her own mother because she was black, and out of sorrow, grief, and disappointment, her mother died. And so, each time Derryle watched that movie, he was heartbroken. He would wonder why a girl should treat her mother like that. He would wonder why she was not proud of herself and her mother. He would wonder why she thought she lived in her own kind of world; a world of denial, a world of deceit, and a world of imitation.However, two weeks to his 16th birthday, he went in search of a job in a grocery store in order to support himself. When he got to the store, he met the manager of the store whose name was Pat Abel, a white man.“Good day, I am here to find out if you are hiring”. He inquired.“Of cause we have positions” responded the manager.“Please may I have the application?” Derryle asked.The manager looked at him searching his face for what Derryle could not understand. He went in, brought the application and handed it to him. Derryle filled out the application, and when he got to the line where he was to indicate his age, he wrote that he was already sixteen. He lied.“I have to lie to get this job. I just need to survive and so I have to lie right now”. He thought to himself.“Are you done?” asked the manager.“Yes “.He took the application from Derryle and later offered him the job. So he got his first employment in April 3rd 1968. But as a boy who never lied before, he started to feel guilty. He became very uncomfortable. He was scared because his instincts told him the manager would find out one day and that would be a criminal offence. He was restless because telling lies had never been a part of his life. Not because he was a pastor or anything near that, but because he had a good upbringing and was an honest boy. He made up his mind that to tell the truth about himself. So Derryle had to fight his subconscious mind, or even suppress it, but it didn’t work.“What if he finds out I lied about my age? What would he think of me?” he asked no one. “No, I must tell him the truth about myself right now before he finds out later”. He cautioned himself. All he wanted was to confess and free his conscience. A stitch in time saves nine. On that same day before he started work, he walked up to the manager and demanded he would like to talk with him. “Look I am not sixteen but will be in few weeks time. I lied”. He confessed. The manager on the other hand told him not to worry about it.It is not as if Derryle did not have relatives who could help him if he had approached them, but he wanted to learn how to be independent. He had three uncles and two aunts but still, he had to work to fend for himself. The fact that his manager did not deny him the job made him conclude that not all white people are bad. He got that conviction that there were some good ones anyway.One thing that Derryle did not like at that time period was that he was called "nigger". This happened each time he went to the bus stop to take a bus to somewhere. A white person would shout at him “Nigger!” and that really upset him. That made him angry any time he was called that name. But there was nothing he could do. He would look at the person and look away. He hated that name. Another thing that was very obvious then was that, each time crime was committed and it was being published in the papers, it was always different. If the report had crime and picture or pictures, it was a black person or people depending on the number of people who committed the crime that week. But if the page of the newspaper had crime and no picture, then the crime was committed by a white person. The blacks always had their faces published on the crime pages of the newspapers. Those were the two things he never liked.When he was done with his high school, he got admitted into East Texas State University which is now called Texas A&M University-Commerce. In the summer of 1972, another tragedy struck again, he got a message that his grandmother, his only confidant and companion died, and his world came crumbling right in front of him. His world started collapsing and life began to make no meaning to him anymore. His only source of hope for tomorrow was gone.In the university, he joined a fraternity group where he felt like home especially when he got a fraternity brother who was always there for him. Derryle came to school with student loan which of cause he would be made to pay back when he graduate. On the campus, he became an active student. He was always going to the post office to get mails and distribute to his fraternity members. One day, he brought mails and began to distribute as usual. And so he gave a mail to one of his fraternity brothers who became very upset. He asked Derrlye a question he could not understand.“What is that?” asked his fraternity brother.“Your mail of course I got it from the post office”“Throw it away” said his fraternity brother.“Why would I throw it away?”“Because they knew it was a credit card before they gave me. They want to put me completely in debt”. He responded with anger.His fraternity brother was angry because he was in a way deceived by the credit card company. He did not realize what it meant to take a credit card. And because of that, he did not even want to see any mail from them. He continues“Look Derryle, I am going to tell you something today and now that will help you to go through the university without taking a loan”.“What is that?” Derryle was eager to know.“You need to get a job. Just get a job instead of student loan”. He advised. And that did the magic. Derryle got a job, and that was how he was able to pay his tuition and took care of himself. That was how he was saved from taking student loans that he would have paid through his nose after graduation. However, as a student, he became popular on campus. He loved to read and write because he had already developed reading culture with the help of his elder brother. He read and wrote poetry. But one thing he never liked to read was novels. He hated English and history with passion, and it was one of the reasons why he never read Shakespeare all his life.Derrlye’s life in East Texas State University Commerce was mixed with good and bad feelings. But his good days were more than his bad days. He experienced at that time when the blacks and the whites were put in the same dormitory to live together for one day and after that, they were separated again. Among his experiences was the woman he met on the campus whom he dated and married. But unfortunately, the marriage crashed, and so he was single again for another eighteen years.After living for a long time without a wife, he felt that his life was not complete. In fact, he needed a woman to call his own. He needed a wife, a life companion. And so, he met another woman who was married and divorced with a daughter. They became best of friends and they finally got married. Marrying this woman was the best thing that ever happened in Derryle’s life. He loved her so much that he can’t do without her. All that he lost in his mother and grandmother were found in his dear wife. Two in one!Today Derrlye Glen Peace is a man who is always happy and very hard working. He is one of the most well dressed employees in Texas A&M University -Commerce today. He carries a pocket knife and handkerchief in his pocket anywhere he goes, and shines his shoes just like his grandfather did. He is very energetic and agile. He talks and walks with confidence. Some years ago, he got a wonderful job in Texas A&M University-Commerce, and he is currently the Director of the Alumni Relations! What a journey of life!!! Abstract: Historically, literacy acquisition has been a challenge for students from low income and minority backgrounds and first generation college students. The McNair Scholars Program is designed to recruit undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to graduate programs. Using data compiled from oral interviews of two potential participants and two Master’s participants in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at a local university, this study discusses the relationship between the program and minority communities in this university town. Advancing Literacy: Graduate School Experiences Among
Local Students and Graduates from Underrepresented Groups Abstract: In her work with the Oral History Project in Brooklyn, Deborah Mutnick explores the pedagogy of the public sphere, arguing that “individual stories could begin to shape a larger collective one.” One of Mutnick’s conclusions is that the telling of personal stories from our communities can help us to learn three lessons: 1 Everybody’s story has value; 2 we have to tell the stories ourselves in order to know who we are. 3 We have to listen to others’ stories in order to know them. In the spirit of Mutnick’s project it is important for us to look locally to our community members and the stories they tell.For more than twenty years Ivory Moore worked as an educator and community official to promote integration, change, and communication between members of East Texas State University (ETSU) and members of the Commerce City community. As Director of Minority Affairs at ETSU Moore worked closely with Members of the Norris Community Club to help students….As the first African-American City Commissioner and Mayor, worked to bring federal Grant money to Commerce and improve the lives of its citizens. During his tenure as Mayor, Moore wrote a weekly column for The Commerce Journal titled “Commerce on the Move” in which Moore promoted local businesses, educational institutions and wrote to help make members of the community aware of the needs and progress of its members. Brittany, Edwards. "Childhood Literacy acquisition and Becoming a potential McNair Scholar". Personal Interview. April 7. 2010.
This review explains how Brittany Edwards acquired literacy as a child growing up with her mother. She learnt how to read and write with the help of her mother who read to her children comic books and children Magazines.
Edwards is interested in becoming a Medical doctor with the help of McNair scholar program. She is very passionate about going to graduate school to serve as a role model to her generation. Derryle, Peace G. Oral history Interview. Texas A&M Library Archive Collection. January 2010.This interview is based on Peace's personal life from childhood to adulthood. He tells in detail how his elder brother who was very much older than him taught him how to read and write. He started reading newspapers and checked words in the dictionary. His grandmother also assisted him by letting him read the bible. The Dictionary and Bible were basically the two books his grandmother had in their house at that time.As an undergraduate and graduate student at the then East State Texas University, Peace was one of the first African-American who experienced integration first hand. Reed, Veronica. “Acquisition of Literacy and Personal Experience in Graduate School”. April 14, 2010. Personal Interview.This review focuses on the oral interview with the Trio Director, Veronica Reed. She explains in detail how she acquired literacy at a very tender age while she was living with her grandmother. The grandmother who is now eighty six years old according to Reed is a well read woman. When she lost her husband, Reed was asked to go and live with her. And so, every morning, she would bring out her bible for the morning devotion and would place it on Reed’s laps and asked her to read. While she read from the bible, there was a dictionary by her side to check the meaning of every strange word before reading the next sentence or word. And by doing that, Reed developed a unique reading culture that she grew up with.While in graduate school, she always made sure four to five people proofread her paper before she turned it in. She was never satisfied with whatever she wrote and still writes. Dictionary in a way became her companion.
Literacy in many and among African-Americans started from their family members and church with reading the bible as the primary reading material. Moore, Ivory. "Personal Experience in Graduate School in the 70's." April 03. 2010.Oral interview with Ivory Moore focuses on his life and experiences as a black person going to school in the 40s and 50s. He explains that his life as a graduate student at that time period was a bit fair because he had to combine school and work to take care of himself and his wife. As a graduate student, funds like tuition loans and financial aid were not available. Those who went to school had to pay from their pockets as he did.Trio program is one of the things he helped to establish in Texas A&M University-Commerce to help black people acquire literacy through student support services and upward bounds programs.As the first black Mayor of Commerce, he made his impact to the Norris Community with the help of the government by providing the necessary amenities like light, road, and water. And not only that, members of the Mount Moriah church in the community especially the children, acquire literacy through their various Sunday school sessions. According to him, Literacy had been a huge concern among the blacks in the Norris community.As a man who attended graduate school and knows the value of education, he still encourages black folks to embrace literacy to live a better and fulfilled life because the higher the degree, the better the job. (annotation by Lami Adama) Banikair The Word
a pair of hands, a bright eye.
It arrives first and unlocks the church door.
It measures the dim, carpeted hall
and slips into a quiet office.
It answers the blinking light on the phone--
the voice asking for grocery money
for the length of a cubit,
for the meaning of Boaz and Jachin,
those brass pillars fruited
with carved pomegranates and lilies
who cast shadows on pilgrims to Solomon's temple.
It writes a letter. It checks pews.
Touching the worn covers of the Bibles,
it feels the preacher's rolling baritone,
the choir of voices
dashing the Word
in fervent swells against the ceiling.
It senses laughter. It floods the hall
with a river of milky, florescent light
to welcome the flock of Sunday school teachers
that is carried in on the early April wind,
their bright coats glittering with raindrops.
It assembles them. It imbues the air
with the durable, well-used prayers
that punctuate their chatter, pinning it in place.
It sends them flying to Bibles.
where they peck and mine
the difficult, dagged spots--
the conundrums, the pieces of the story
that don't fit together and never will.
They trace a path
in pen, illuminate it
a safe passage for the next student
that says, Iwas here, and so are you.
We met in this space
And through the words you add,
the trails you stake,
we will meet again.