||The Glory Field
Walter Dean Myers
Theme: The Power of Inner Strength and Family Ties
Grades: Grades 7-8
In this novel, Myers tells the saga of the Lewis family from the 1700s
to the present day. Their experiences represent milestones in African-American
history. The family’s founder, Muhammad Bilal, is captured, shackled,
and transported from Africa to America aboard a slave ship. His noble
spirit and love of freedom inspire his descendants, who triumph over
the evils of slavery, injustice, poverty, and prejudice. Each generation
of the Lewis family derives strength of spirit from love of family and
from the Glory Fielda plot of land in South Carolina hallowed
by the blood and toil of ancestors.
- Tapping Prior Knowledge: Quickwrite.
Ask students to write about an incidentfrom their own lives
or from their readingin which someone took a stand against an
injustice. Encourage them to record what happened and to explore how
the incident made them feel and why they remember it. Invite volunteers
to share their responses. Then suggest that, as students read the
novel, they compare their experiences with those of the Lewis family.
- Linking to Today: Group Discussion.
Lead students in discussing examples of racial discrimination that
they have read about or discovered through movies or television. Encourage
them to provide examples, to analyze causes and effects, and to speculate
about ways that conflicts might be resolved.
Get it Straight.
After Abby and Elijah Lewis rescue David Turner, the local newspaper
reports that David was rescued by Sheriff Glover. Have students
write a feature article for today’s Johnson City newspaper, telling
the true story that was supressed so long ago. The article should
include information about what became of Abby and Elijah. It might
also include an illustration of the boys or a map tracing the route
to and from Key Island.
- Gone But Not Forgotten.
In various ways, the Lewises contribute their energies to their communities.
Enlist students to plan a community memorial honoring one Lewis family
member who dies in the novel. The memorial might be anything from
a painting or a statue to a concert, a library, a youth center, a
park, or an ongoing community service. Have students design the memorial
and choose music and readings to present at the dedication ceremony.
- African Americans in the Civil War.
Have students find out about the participation of African Americans
in the Civil War. Instruct them to locate facts, statistics, and firsthand
accounts regarding the involvement of free African Americans from
the North as well as runaway slaves from the South. Have them present
their information in a well-organized research report.
- Research the Life.
Have students research the life and accomplishments of a famous African
American mentioned in the novel, such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Marian Anderson,
Jackie Robinson, Madam C.J. Walker, or Malcolm X. Have them write
a brief biographical sketch of the person they choose.