In the summer of 2020, the Graphic Possibilities Research Workshop led by Julian Chambliss, Faculty Director, Zack Kruse, Graduate Co-leader, and Justin Wigard, Graduate Co-leader, in the Department of English at Michigan State University assembled a small group of future educators to engage in a professional development opportunity with outcomes in the form of lesson plans that addressed critical issues in humanities education at the secondary and collegiate levels.
This series of workshops was supported by a fellowship awarded to Graphic Possibilities by The HistoryMakers, and the workshops and lesson plans included substantive engagement with The HistoryMakers Digital Archive.
As such, one of the primary goals of the workshop and the lesson plans was to increase engagement with The HistoryMakers. Because The HistoryMakers is a valuable resource for considering the African American experience in cultural discourse, its active use can lead both teachers and students towards greater commitment to center critical issues surrounding race and social justice in humanities education.
Along with the inclusion of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive, participants’ lesson plans included comic books and comic strips as primary source materials. In order to support both the use of The HistoryMakers and primary sources, participants also relied on the Graphic Possibilities Comics Research Guide, an Open Education Resource supported by the Graphic Possibilities Research Workshop and housed in the MSU Library.
By speaking in the registers of both secondary and post-secondary education, the lesson plans offer an excellent opportunity for educators to work towards greater inclusivity in the classroom while also meeting Common Core standards and advancing individual research. Our hope is that deployment of these lesson plans will achieve these goals while also enhancing the position of the Michigan State University Library and the Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters as a leader in Comics Studies and comics pedagogy.