Novel Study: The Watsons go to Birmingham 1963
News Clip on Birmingham Church Bombing
Connections to the Story
In Chapter 4, we learn that Momma is overly concerned about how cold it can be in Flint. Challenge students to do a brief investigation into the climate di erences between Flint, Michigan and Birmingham, Alabama.
Average Weather for Birmingham:
Average Weather for Flint, Michigan:
Chapter 6 lets the reader know that it could be embarrassing for kids in the 1960s to admit when they were on welfare. Challenge students investigate what it meant to be on welfare in the 1960s.
Michigan League for Public Policy—Welfare in the 1960s:
Food Stamp Act of 1964 – War on Poverty:
Also, Byron buys a box of Swedish Cremes to eat. What exactly are Swedish Cremes, anyway? http://thestir.cafemom.com/food_party/135954/swedish_cream_cookies_will_make
In Chapter 7, Byron’s hair causes quite the stir within the Watson household. As it turns out, Byron was not the only person in the 1960s to choose such a hairstyle. Interestingly, many popular Black musicians in the 1960s adopted these straightened hairstyles:
This was particularly controversial at the time because the Black community emphasized the importance of loving one’s natural self—and for many, like Momma and Dad in this story, that meant not altering your naturally curly hair.
During the Civil Rights movement, the conk hairstyle was particularly criticized as detrimental to the entire Black race because it involved engaging in a dangerous chemical process all for the intent of eliminating Black features in order to look more White. Here is more information on the history of Black hair: