Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige
Striking Out Jim Crow
by James Sturm & Rich Tommaso

About the book:
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Leroy “Satchel” Paige (1905?-1982) changed the face of the game in a career that spanned five decades. Much has been written about this larger-than-life pitcher, but when it comes to Paige, fact does not easily separate from fiction. He made a point of writing his own history…and then rewriting it. Told from the point of view of a fictional sharecropper, this compelling narrative follows Paige from his earliest days on the mound through the pinnacle of his career. A tall, lanky fireballer, he was arguably the Negro Leagues’ hardest thrower, most entertaining storyteller and greatest gate attraction. Playing for dozens of teams, Paige vanquished thousands of batters; but his part in helping strike out Jim Crow may be his most lasting legacy.
In stark prose and powerful graphics, author and artist share the story of a sports hero, role model, consummate showman, and era-defining American.

About the guide:
This guide includes discussion questions intended to provoke thought and insight into the themes of the book which include baseball, violence, racism, boundaries, discrimination, and fame.

Discussion guide:

  1. How does the author and illustrator weave the story Emmet Wilson, a sharecropper, with the story of Satchel Paige? Why do you think they made this choice instead of a typical biography?
  2. Why is Emmet Wilson willing to leave his home and family? Compare his opportunities at home during this time period to those he’ll have in the black baseball league.
  3. Describe the narrator’s experience as an opponent to the famous Satchel Paige.  What does the game reveal to the reader about both Paige and Wilson?
  4. Explain why the narrator then returns to Tuckwilla, Alabama. As a reader, how do you know that time has passed in the story? What is Emmet’s main conflict now?
  5. How do Dizzy Dean and Satchel Paige capitalize on their talents to make the most money? Despite this what is Paige still refused? How would you handle this kind of discrimination?
  6. Why does Emmet feel compelled to attend Mr. Jennings’s celebration? What happens ? Would you be able to bring yourself to attend?
  7. By 1941 how has Satchel Paige’s career climbed? What does he say about himself? Why do you think the Jim Crow laws of the south persisted over such a long time period?
  8. Emmet tries to “humble down” to the Jennings twins but they resort to violence to make their point. What do they do? Why is Emmet afraid to retaliate?  How does impact every single aspect of his life, even his faith?
  9. Summarize the game between the famous Satchel Paige and the Tuckwilla, Alabama home team. What does watching this game do for the Wilson men?
  10. How does the graphic novel format add to your understanding of the subjects presented? What have you learned about the institutions of sharecropping and the Jim Crow laws that you might have missed otherwise?

Panel discussion questions:
  1. Are there still disparate wages among whites and African-Americans today? Why?
  2. Do you think the Arican American newspapers were welcome below the Mason Dixon line or not? Why?  How do most people communicate about important issues today?
  3. What is the most interesting fact you learned about baseball from this story?
  4. How did the police handle lynchings during this time period?  How was this a form of terror and control?

Language arts/ Art:
Create several graphic novel pages about an important sport, academic or social hero of your own. Be sure to research information about your subject’s life so that the panels educate and entertain.

Create a Venn diagram and compare and contrast the lives of Satchel Paige and Emmet Wilson.

Research one of the following topics from the novel and develop a PowerPoint, website, or newspaper article about what you learned (site at least three different sources, only two of them may be online):
National Negro League
African American Press
History of American Baseball
Brotherhood of Sleeping Porters
Jim Crow laws
Graphic novels