Bringing Fiction To Life At BHS.

Our class had the opportunity to visit the Brooklyn Historical Society and I believe our experiences there helped us each individually and collectively. Working with primary sources was a new experience for me but I appreciate what it helped me accomplish and what I was able to to take with from each trip. Our visits there coincided with our analysis of a specific text. The first trip helped us with our reading and understanding of “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn.” Seeing old railroad maps and photographs of Brooklyn seemed to enthuse the entire class because of the parallels we could make of Brooklyn then and now. I think that experience brought the reading to life for us, and made a fiction piece seem very realistic because of the familiarity the readers had with the setting. Our second and third trips to the Brooklyn Historical Society helped us with our study of Beloved by Toni Morrison. In this novel, along with another related text we deal with the issue of slavery and runaway slaves. We were able to look at transcripts of runaway slave ads and we studied all the characteristics of the documents, and the slaves. We also discovered some unique things previously undiscovered by our host who was more familiar with the documents. I really enjoyed the group work we were able to do. It gave us a chance to be more familiar with some of our classmates, and to share ideas and have meaningful conversations about themes being discussed in the class. I will always value my experience at the Brooklyn Historical Society because I think our time there was well spent, and it was an effective way to have us as students more engaged with our assigned material.

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