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In and Out of Africa—Egypt, Sudan and the Influence of the Ottoman Empire

In 2001, Philadelphia became home to 65 refugees from Sudan. Known as “The Lost Boys (there were girls also) of Sudan,” these young people had come through a horrendous journey—much of it on foot from their villages to refugee camps and finally to the U.S. where host families made them a part of their households.

This raises some questions in my mind that through this unit I will seek to answer. How do those of the Arab North perceive themselves in relation to others in Sudan? How do other nations perceive them? What part does Sudan’s neighboring country Egypt play in this conflict?

What are the ramifications for my students, mainly African American who see themselves separate and apart from Africa and Africans—a sort of “disconnect.” There is a lack of understanding between the two groups-African and African American, (the “host” community) with the students from Africa co-mingling with each other and the African American students choosing to remain separate and apart from Africans. Oftentimes, the refugee or immigrant students are taunted by African American students because of from where they come.

By researching, mapping, constructing timelines and analyzing images and documents, my students will be able to decide for themselves as to why Egypt has one foot in Africa, and also what drives the conflict in Sudan.  My students will also come to understand how migrations, wars and occupations can impact/alter cultures and people’s perceptions of themselves and others. This unit is written for grades 7/8.


Patricia Mitchell-Keita-Doe

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