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        Contains Adult Language, Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms

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        Raising Bertie | Lesson Plan Clips

        I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am, also, much more than that. So are we all.

        - James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (1955)

        In the midst of the Great Depression in 1931, historian James Truslow Adams defined the American dream as “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.”  For decades it appeared that many in the United States had access to that dream through federal economic development programs like the G.I. Bill (1944), which offered thousands of returning veterans grants for school and college, low-interest mortgage and small-business loans, job training opportunities and unemployment payments. In fact, studies have shown that from 1940 onwards, “a child born into the average American household had a 92 percent chance of making more money than his or her parents.”  

        Yet this upward economic growth did not touch all communities nor benefit all racial groups. And while James Baldwin’s declaration of individual complexity rings true, many communities continue to face deep inequities, particularly African-American youth coming of age in rural areas. 

        Clip 1: "Junior, Dada and Bud"

        This clip introduces the three primary storytellers in Raising Bertie, Reginald (Junior), Davonte (Dada) and David (Bud). They introduce themselves and their lives in Bertie County, North Carolina.

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        Clip 2: "Vivian Saunders"

        This clip offers students the opportunity to meet Vivian Saunders, the founder of the Hive House, the alternative school that Junior, Bud and Dada attend, and get a more detailed understanding of the opportunities and challenges each face coming of age in rural North Carolina.

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        Clip 3: "Making It"

        In this clip we listen to Dada, Junior and Cheryl, Junior’s mother, share their perspectives on the economic reality of life in Bertie County and witness their strength and their determination to continue to build better lives for themselves.

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        Clip 4: "Next Steps"

        Dada celebrates graduating from high school; Bud shares his struggles with fatherhood; and Junior contemplates next steps as he becomes a father and continues to work more than two hours outside of town.

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