Folger Education

Folger Education Creating the next generation of readers, writers, thinkers, and doers. Teaching and learning at Shakespeare’s home in America, Folger Shakespeare Library.
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Teacher friends, we've missed you! Won't you join us for a Folger Teacher Community Conversation THIS Wednesday at 8PM E...
10/26/2020

Teacher friends, we've missed you! Won't you join us for a Folger Teacher Community Conversation THIS Wednesday at 8PM ET?

Tell us how you're doing, find out what we've been up to, and take away a "spooky" good lesson for your class on Friday. #macbeth

Register for FREE and invite all your ELA teacher friends!! teaching.folger.edu/upcoming-professional-development

Did you catch the recent episode of Shakespeare Lightning Round with Director of Folger Education Peggy O'Brien? Watch i...
09/20/2020
Shakespeare Lightning Round: Peggy O'Brien

Did you catch the recent episode of Shakespeare Lightning Round with Director of Folger Education Peggy O'Brien? Watch it now at https://bit.ly/2DLdf5K.

Peggy O'Brien, the Folger's Director of Education, joins us for a new episode of the Shakespeare Lightning Round on Instagram Live.

Today, July 1 at 5 pm ET, tune into our new Shakespeare Lightning Round on the Folger's Instagram! Who's your favorite S...
07/01/2020

Today, July 1 at 5 pm ET, tune into our new Shakespeare Lightning Round on the Folger's Instagram! Who's your favorite Shakespeare character? Best disguise in Shakespeare? Most overrated Shakespeare play? On the Shakespeare Lightning Round, we ask our guests 30 lightning-fast questions about their favorite—and least favorite—things about the Bard.

Today's guest: Shakespeare In Detroit Founding Artistic & Executive Director Sam White! Learn more: https://bit.ly/2AgXLo8.

Teachers, join the Folger Shakespeare Library on July 9th for a "Critical Race Conversation: Cultivating an Anti-Racist ...
06/24/2020
Critical Race Conversations

Teachers, join the Folger Shakespeare Library on July 9th for a "Critical Race Conversation: Cultivating an Anti-Racist Pedagogy" 3 - 4:15PM EDT.

https://www.folger.edu/critical-race-conversations

Across the 2020-2021 academic year, the Folger Institute will host a series of online sessions to address an expansive range of topics in the field of early modern critical race studies. The Institute is providing the framework and platform, but, as is our practice, we turn to scholars across discip...

06/20/2020

Yesterday’s Bard Note:

Teaching Colleagues,

Today—Friday, June 19, 2020--we join many across the nation and around the world in honoring Freedom Day or Juneteenth. We commemorate the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and the last remaining enslaved persons in the Confederacy were now free. This was more than two years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth got the FolgerED team thinking about the fact that Emancipation Day is celebrated in our own city of Washington, DC on April 16th . . . because President Lincoln freed enslaved people in the District of Columbia on that date in 1862.

And that got us thinking about a couple of related stories in the Folger’s own neighborhood.

So . . . come with us on a little tour: We're walking from the Folger eight blocks up East Capitol Street to Lincoln Park. It’s a regular city park named for President Lincoln, and for years, President Lincoln presided alone over the kids and dogs, runners and cyclists. The statue--called the Emancipation Memorial--was installed and dedicated in 1876. A seated Lincoln has his hand on the head of an emancipated man. Frederick Douglass attended the dedication as did President Grant. In his speech, Douglass praised emancipation but rightly criticized the statue's defeated depiction of the emancipated man.

Nearly 100 years later in 1974, Mr. Lincoln was joined in the park by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (1879-1955), an African American educator and civil rights activist. She is an energized woman handing off a scroll to two lively children; the scroll is labeled My Last Will and Testament. The power of her sculpture is such that when it was installed, the direction of Lincoln's statue was reversed so that he and Dr. Bethune would face each other from opposite ends of the park. We like to think that they have been in dialogue ever since.

In this week of Juneteenth 2020, as the nation presses forward to confront our history of racial injustice, it is Mary McLeod Bethune who speaks to us so powerfully. Her Last Will and Testament is mighty, and—though it was written 65 years ago and some elements feel dated—much of it feels right on time. It is l-o-n-g. Her voice was meant to be heard, however, so you will find it below in its entirely, starting with a section of her preamble.

We know we need to do the work. We are honored to do the work. Together. With you. "Knowledge is the prime need of the hour," said Dr. Bethune, and we say, “Amen.”

Black Lives Matter.

Love from the FolgerED Team: Peggy O’Brien, Corinne Viglietta, Katie Dvorak, Maryam Trowell, and Shanta Bryant

MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

“. . . Sometimes I ask myself if I have any other legacy to leave. Truly, my worldly possessions are few. Yet, my experiences have been rich. From them, I have distilled principles and policies in which I believe firmly, for they represent the meaning of my life's work. They are the products of much sweat and sorrow.

Perhaps in them there is something of value. So, as my life draws to a close, I will pass them on to Negroes everywhere in the hope that an old woman's philosophy may give them inspiration. Here, then is my legacy.

I LEAVE YOU LOVE. Love builds. It is positive and helpful. It is more beneficial than hate. Injuries quickly forgotten quickly pass away. Personally and racially, our enemies must be forgiven. Our aim must be to create a world of fellowship and justice where no man's skin, color or religion, is held against him. "Love thy neighbor" is a precept which could transform the world if it were universally practiced. It connotes brotherhood and, to me, brotherhood of man is the noblest concept in all human relations. Loving your neighbor means being interracial, interreligious and international.

I LEAVE YOU THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE IN ONE ANOTHER. As long as Negroes are hemmed into racial blocks by prejudice and pressure, it will be necessary for them to band together for economic betterment. Negro banks, insurance companies and other businesses are examples of successful, racial economic enterprises. These institutions were made possible by vision and mutual aid. Confidence was vital in getting them started and keeping them going. Negroes have got to demonstrate still more confidence in each other in business. This kind of confidence will aid the economic rise of the race by bringing together the pennies and dollars of our people and ploughing them into useful channels. Economic separatism cannot be tolerated in this enlightened age, and it is not practicable. We must spread out as far and as fast as we can, but we must also help each other as we go.

I LEAVE YOU A THIRST FOR EDUCATION. Knowledge is the prime need of the hour. More and more, Negroes are taking full advantage of hard-won opportunities for learning, and the educational level of the Negro population is at its highest point in history. We are making greater use of the privileges inherent in living in a democracy. If we continue in this trend, we will be able to rear increasing numbers of strong, purposeful men and women, equipped with vision, mental clarity, health and education.

I LEAVE YOU RESPECT FOR THE USES OF POWER. We live in a world which respects power above all things. Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom. Unwisely directed, it can be a dreadful, destructive force. During my lifetime I have seen the power of the Negro grow enormously. It has always been my first concern that this power should be placed on the side of human justice.

Now that the barriers are crumbling everywhere, the Negro in America must be ever vigilant lest his forces be marshalled behind wrong causes and undemocratic movements. He must not lend his support to any group that seeks to subvert democracy. That is why we must select leaders who are wise, courageous, and of great moral stature and ability. We have great leaders among us today: Ralph Bunche, Channing Tobias, Mordecai Johnson, Walter White, and Mary Church Terrell. [The latter now deceased]. We have had other great men and women in the past: Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth. We must produce more qualified people like them, who will work not for themselves, but for others.

I LEAVE YOU FAITH. Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible. Faith in God is the greatest power, but great, too, is faith in oneself. In 50 years the faith of the American Negro in himself has grown immensely and is still increasing. The measure of our progress as a race is in precise relation to the depth of the faith in our people held by our leaders. Frederick Douglass, genius though he was, was spurred by a deep conviction that his people would heed his counsel and follow him to freedom. Our greatest Negro figures have been imbued with faith. Our forefathers struggled for liberty in conditions far more onerous than those we now face, but they never lost the faith. Their perseverance paid rich dividends. We must never forget their sufferings and their sacrifices, for they were the foundations of the progress of our people.

I LEAVE YOU RACIAL DIGNITY. I want Negroes to maintain their human dignity at all costs. We, as Negroes, must recognize that we are the custodians as well as the heirs of a great civilization. We have given something to the world as a race and for this we are proud and fully conscious of our place in the total picture of mankind's development. We must learn also to share and mix with all men. We must make an effort to be less race conscious and more conscious of individual and human values. I have never been sensitive about my complexion. My color has never destroyed my self-respect nor has it ever caused me to conduct myself in such a manner as to merit the disrespect of any person. I have not let my color handicap me. Despite many crushing burdens and handicaps, I have risen from the cotton fields of South Carolina to found a college, administer it during its years of growth, become a public servant in the government of our country and a leader of women. I would not exchange my color for all the wealth in the world, for had I been born white I might not have been able to do all that I have done or yet hope to do.

I LEAVE YOU A DESIRE TO LIVE HARMONIOUSLY WITH YOUR FELLOW MEN. The problem of color is worldwide. It is found in Africa and Asia, Europe and South America. I appeal to American Negroes -- North, South, East and West -- to recognize their common problems and unite to solve them.

I pray that we will learn to live harmoniously with the white race. So often, our difficulties have made us hypersensitive and truculent. I want to see my people conduct themselves naturally in all relationships -- fully conscious of their manly responsibilities and deeply aware of their heritage. I want them to learn to understand whites and influence them for good, for it is advisable and sensible for us to do so. We are a minority of 15 million living side by side with a white majority. We must learn to deal with these people positively and on an individual basis.

I LEAVE YOU FINALLY A RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. The world around us really belongs to youth for youth will take over its future management. Our children must never lose their zeal for building a better world. They must not be discouraged from aspiring toward greatness, for they are to be the leaders of tomorrow. Nor must they forget that the masses of our people are still underprivileged, ill-housed, impoverished and victimized by discrimination. We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.
Faith, courage, brotherhood, dignity, ambition, responsibility -- these are needed today as never before. We must cultivate them and use them as tools for our task of completing the establishment of equality for the Negro. We must sharpen these tools in the struggle that faces us and find new ways of using them. The Freedom Gates are half-ajar. We must pry them fully open.

If I have a legacy to leave my people, it is my philosophy of living and serving. As I face tomorrow, I am content, for I think I have spent my life well. I pray now that my philosophy may be helpful to those who share my vision of a world of Peace, Progress, Brotherhood, and Love.”

I LEAVE YOU HOPE. The Negro's growth will be great in the years to come. Yesterday, our ancestors endured the degradation of slavery, yet they retained their dignity. Today, we direct our economic and political strength toward winning a more abundant and secure life. Tomorrow, a new Negro, unhindered by race taboos and shackles, will benefit from more than 330 years of ceaseless striving and struggle. Theirs will be a better world. This I believe with all my heart.

Join us this Wednesday, May 20th 7PM EDT for our 8th Folger Teacher Community Conversation. On deck:1) a Folger 20-minut...
05/19/2020

Join us this Wednesday, May 20th 7PM EDT for our 8th Folger Teacher Community Conversation. On deck:
1) a Folger 20-minute play that you can do with your students before Friday!
2) Paired texts! We'll answer the question of what are paired texts and why are they important and then YOU'LL pair up a speech of Lady Macbeth's with one from Rose (Fences), or a poem by Ada Limón, or a passage from The Yellow Wallpaper.

Free to register.

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/upAsfuGopj0jSlW7oor1A0Idf6FiLos7jw

04/23/2020

Folger Shakespeare Library

Not since Benny, confronted by a thief,
Was told, “Your money or your life!” and said,
(Put here a comic pause, a tension brief)
“I’m thinking, thinking,” has someone my mind led
Into a place that, like our laughter’s joy,
Has caused in me a child’s pure delight.
On entering the Folger’s vault, one might
Expect works dead. Instead, I am a boy,
Taken to a place where there’s no age,
To language rich, a bounty on each page.
Oh, to stay, to take books from the shelves,
To sit, childlike, upon the floor and read
Poems and sermons, songs of kings and elves:
Endless treasures on which my mind would feed.

Thanks to Folger Docent Lawrence Plotkin

#ShareYourShakespeare

04/23/2020

The New Exchange 2005:
A Relflection on “Consuming Splendor”

To say, “I’m shocked,” to say “I’m simply shocked,”
Is not enough to frame my deep dismay.
It seems from Shakespeare’s time until today
There thrives a class of people to be mocked
For caring most for fashion’s novelty,
Showing how far we’ve come from Eden’s tree.
“I see you’ll to our new Exchange to shop,
To find the things that you must have to flaunt
Your wealth, to show the world (which you would taunt)
That you’re prepared to shop until you drop.
And flirt as well, for passion’s bought and sold
As easily as silks and well-wrought gold.’
If luxury can be de-moralized,
What chance have love and honor to be prized.

Thanks to Folger Docent Lawrence Plotkin

#ShareYourShakespeare

04/23/2020

Rank poet of sex, I had sores
or
Oxford is not Shakespeare

I was confused, it seems, about the man
Who academics far and wide agree
Wrote Shakespeare’s plays. But look. How can it be?
An oaf, a glover’s son whose life began
In Stratford where his schooling was too brief
And where, a fool, he married at an age
Too young. A yokel could not write a page
Of verse so fine. It’s just beyond belief.
Then who? Our Kit at Depford was found dead
And Oxford’s gone as well. Bacon’s dry,
Cecil’s dull, and Essex’s lost his head.
Each one is done, each claim has gone awry.
Just Will is left, no challenger remains,
But loonies will go on to wrack their brains.

On reading Contested Will – July 2010
Thanks to Folger Docent Lawrence Plotkin

#ShareYourShakespeare

04/23/2020

Carpe Vitam

By Will, against my will seduced once more,
I read another bio of the Bard:
Soul of the Age* is full of Shakespearean lore,
Impeccably informed. I drop my guard.
The author weaves a web of well-wrought words.
I am enmeshed: so easily led to trust.
So weak my will, so generous the rewards,
What vows are proof against my lust?
If women were my sin, and not Will’s life,
By now I would a social outcast be,
Not fit for moral company, a caitiff
Wretch, condemned for infidelity.
But, Oh, forbidden pleasure never palls.
I wait for next week’s bio at the stalls.

*Soul of the Age, Johathaan Bate, Random House, 2009
Thanks to Folger Docent Lawrence Plotkin

04/23/2020

#ShareYourShakespeare

04/23/2020
Folger Shakespeare Library

LIVE NOW!!

Home-Schooling at Shakespeare's Table: The Meaning of Meals in "The Taming of the Shrew"
12:30–1:30pm

What does Shakespeare have to say to us about the importance of table-fellowship in a time of strain? Join David Goldstein, co-director of Before 'Farm to Table,' our Mellon-funded collaborative research project, for this talk. In this virtual gathering, Goldstein will consider numerous ways in which Shakespeare considers food-sharing as an opportunity for teaching and learning about mental, physical, and social health.

Shakespeare's Birthday 2020: Home-Schooling at Shakespeare's Table: The Meaning of Meals in "The Taming of the Shrew": What does Shakespeare have to say to us about the importance of table-fellowship in a time of strain? Join David Goldstein, co-director of Before 'Farm to Table,' our Mellon-funded collaborative research project, for this talk. In this virtual gathering, Goldstein will consider numerous ways in which Shakespeare considers food-sharing as an opportunity for teaching and learning about mental, physical, and social health.

Have a question? Ask David in the comments! We’ll do our best to get to as many of your questions as possible.

We’re celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday all day. Learn how to #ShareYourShakespeare, find our full schedule of virtual events, and support the Folger on our website.

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If I try to describe him here, it is to make sure I shall not forget him. To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures…”