“I always knew I wanted to be somebody. I think that’s where it begins. People decide, “I want to be somebody. I want to make a contribution. I want to leave my mark here.” Then different factors contribute to how you will do that.”-Faith Ringgold
Today is the birthday of Faith Ringgold who was born in 1930. In about 1997, I started corresponding with Faith Ringgold and I would tell her how I used her artwork and books in my classroom. I put together 2 binders of “Author Studies,” which was just being introduced. In fact, I was invited to other schools outside of my district to introduce and conduct Professional Development training in how to put together an authentic “author studies.” Well, Faith became very supportive of what I was doing in the classroom and invited me to participate in a documentary on creativity and children. One day in March, 1998, a documentary filmmaker, Linda Freeman and her crew and Faith came to my school in Brooklyn for a full day of filming one particular group. I had put together the “Ringgold 101” group of students in K-5, English and non-English Speaking students. I read most of Faith’s books to them and they loved learning about Faith; her artwork; the themes in her books/art and related to the themes through discussion, art and writing. I also composed a welcoming song that they sang when Faith and the Superintendent of the District were seated. It was a festive, but very tiring day! When the documentary, I Can Fly: Kids and Creativity was completed, I requested a vhs tape for every student and for the school. Local newspapers were invited (I think some parents had contacted them!) and I have articles of that wonderful, memorable day. If you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, babysitter, caregiver…share Faith’s books and her own bio, please! She is a remarkable individual.