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“Rare Ability and Devotion”: Elizabeth Tyler, first visiting Black nurse of Philadelphia, as Counter-Narrative

Author: Danina Garcia


Vaux Big Picture High School

Year: 2023

Seminar: W.E.B. Du Bois and Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: African American History, Henrietta Lacks, Medical History, Medicine, Nursing History, Philadelphia, Tuberculosis

School Subject(s): ELA, Science, Social Studies

In Progressive-era Philadelphia, tuberculosis had a disproportionate impact on Black citizens, especially those living in the “Black belt” just south of City Hall. White doctors and reformers founded the Phipps Institute to combat tuberculosis across the city, but were baffled when very few Black patients came forward. Following a lead established by nurses in New York City, one of Philadelphia’s nonprofits hired a Black nurse to begin a public health, in-house treatment and education campaign. This unit uses primary sources as layered texts to introduce students to the impact of tuberculosis as a disease, the need for treatment in Philadelphia and New York, and the revolutionary impact of Black medical professionals, exemplified in Elizabeth Tyler. This unit is intended as a counter-narrative and introduction to current District curriculum on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, but would also work as an introductory unit to any study of infectious diseases or primary source historical research.

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Full Unit Text
Unit Content

Introduction & Teaching Context

In the 2020-2021 school year, Vaux Big Picture High School graduated its first class of 12th graders since reopening as a contract school with a project-based, internship-based model in the 2017-2018 school year. Although young people, and primarily young people of color, have been educated at Vaux since the building was constructed in 1936, the “new” Vaux opened in August 2017 was the result of a partnership among the School District, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the nonprofit Big Picture Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which purchased and owned the school building after its closure in 2013, and opened the neighborhood, non-special-admit school as part of a “community building” that also includes job training, a health clinic, financial counseling services, and a Mighty Writers after-school program. The north Philadelphia students who attend Vaux engage in off-campus internships 1-2 days a week and, to the extent practicable, study their history and English content in an aligned Humanities model to allow for more interdisciplinary learning.

Vaux is a project-based school, and so even more traditional English units that may focus on a collective class text are still designed to be experiential and exploratory and build students’ skills in research, inference, and self-directed learning. This unit is intended as an introduction to a reading of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks that is recommended for 10th grade English District-wide (School District of Philadelphia, 2022), which might be followed at my school by the recommended traditional research paper or a more community-based project.

Rationale & Alignment

Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2011) is equal parts biography, medical history, and authorial memoir. Lacks, a young Black tobacco farmer from Virginia, died in 1951 of a particularly aggressive and persistent cervical cancer. Impoverished and uneducated, Lacks only lived to thirty-one and left behind a husband and five children, including a daughter, Deborah, who figures prominently in Skloot’s text. Unknown at the time to Lacks or her surviving family, doctors at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore collected samples of her cervical cells as part of an ongoing attempt to grow human cells in a lab culture. Skloot paints a dramatic picture of a bored lab technician not even bothering to put off her lunch in order to culture Henrietta’s cells, assuming that they would die like all the others.

However, Henrietta Lacks’ cells became the first human cells to survive and reproduce in a lab environment. Decades after her death, what became known as the HeLa cell line continues to be used in nearly every laboratory working with human cells. Her cells have been instrumental in the development of the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, and much of modern understanding of cancer itself. Her family, however, did not even know samples had been taken until they were contacted with a request for familial DNA in order to resolve a cross-contamination issue. Skloot’s book recounts Henrietta’s life, the lives of her husband and children, their ongoing legal battle for recognition and/or compensation, and the medical and social impact of the HeLa line. The text also devotes significant time to Skloot’s own emotional connection to the issue and her difficulties reaching and persuading Henrietta’s family to trust a white middle-class journalist with the story of a rural Black family sidelined by well-meaning but dismissive medical professionals.

Skloot is acutely aware of her privilege and disconnect, and intersperses extensive quotes from Henrietta’s younger daughter Deborah throughout the text and in between most sections. The book is also a conscious attempt to reclaim agency for Henrietta Lacks and her family. Nevertheless, it is a story of Black trauma, Black pain and Black conflict with systems where racism has long since metastasized. When my class of all African-American students began to study the text in spring of 2023, they were fascinated by the medical history and quick to share their own stories of distrust and loss in interacting with Philadelphia hospitals. However, students also shared their frustration that we were studying yet another story of Black victimhood, where continued existence and bare recognition were retroactively defined as triumph.

Educators and curriculum writers, in Philadelphia and elsewhere, do recognize the problems with stories that center racial, sexual or other trauma, but much of the curriculum centers on helping “minoritized” students create their own counter-narratives ( (Shih-en Leu, 2020; Steiss, 2019; Vue et al, 2017). Counter-narrative is a broad term used to define stories that reimagine and counter dominant ideas, whether textually or otherwise. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’ and Amy Storniaiulo’s rich research into reader response, fan works, and online communities’ highlights ways that “restorying” can be an empowering act for students, in and out of the classroom (2016). (Thomas’ social media is also a regular resource for many English teachers looking for ways to integrate especially voices of Black speculative fiction and “fandom” into a traditional English course.) Since her book Cultivating Genius arrived on the scene in 2020, Gholdy Muhammad’s focus on “historically relevant instruction” has also shaped how texts are taught and units organized in the School District of Philadelphia and elsewhere. Muhammad’s work, partly inspired by the antebellum Black literary societies that began in Philadelphia and New York and by the “textual lineages” work of Alfred W. Tatum, aids teachers in designing all lessons to cultivate students’ identity, criticality, skill, intellect, and even joy (2020, 2023).

Reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is itself a powerful counter to dominant narratives that decentralize Black contributions to medicine and history. However, as current English teacher Josh Thompson points out in his description of “restorative reading,” “Just featuring marginalized characters does not make a book a counternarrative” (Thompson, 2022, 81). Especially early in the text, and in the District-designed culminating task of research papers on medical racism, this curriculum can contribute to a sense that Black trauma and exploitation is the only story to tell.  In the spring 2023 Teacher’s Institute Seminar “W.E.B. DuBois and Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward ” taught by Professor Amy Hillier, we briefly discussed the pioneering work of Black public health nurse Elizabeth Tyler in early 20th-century Philadelphia. Tyler’s story, of an educated, driven Black nurse who migrated up and down the East Coast in a relentless quest for work that was meaningful, remunerative and demanding, is a powerful contrast to that of the determined but underinformed cancer patient.

In a perfect world, students would encounter Tyler’s story mostly if not exclusively through her own writings. However, the frequency with which her story is told through white voices is itself eloquent evidence of the racism of the system in which she operated. Gholdy Muhammad’s “layered texts’ ‘ strategy recommends using a variety of modes to introduce information to students, mixing secondary and primary sources, visual, audio and written texts to allow students to explore and interpret information. I have designed this unit, and gathered the materials included in the Appendix and classroom activities, to align with Muhammad’s strategies while also encouraging students to “put the pieces together” much as Skloot compiles information about Lacks in the required text.

Although this mini-unit grew out of a direct student need that is unique to current curriculum in the School District of Philadelphia’s 10th grade English courses, Tyler’s story and the primary and secondary sources I have compiled would make a compelling introduction to any extended study of scientific or medical history, primary source research, local history, or even infectious disease and public health.

Overview of Historical Content
Philadelphia’s Fight Against Tuberculosis: 1894-1914

To understand, and help students understand, the impact of Elizabeth Tyler’s work, it is vital to have some sense of the landscape of Black Philadelphia at the turn of the 20th century. If using this unit as part of a social studies course, I highly recommend a study of W.E.B. DuBois’ The Philadelphia Negro in more depth; see the annotated bibliography for possible resources. As this mini-unit is written specifically to provide a counterweight and introduction to the study of Henrietta Lacks in the School District of Philadelphia’s current curriculum (School District of Philadelphia, 2022), the following will not extensively cover early 20th century Philadelphia history, but will instead offer a short gloss of the Black community’s relationship with tuberculosis and treatment.

In the early 1900s, Philadelphia was undergoing its own transformations, both medical and cultural. In October 1895, the first Black-run medical care and training institution in Philadelphia, Frederick Douglass Hospital, opened (Locklear, 2022). That same year, a young Black man named Henry Minton graduated the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and opened Pennsylvania’s first Black-owned drug store; within a decade, Minton would close his shop in order to pursue higher education and graduate Jefferson Medical College in 1906 as a full-fledged doctor (McBride, 1987).

Elizabeth Tyler would not arrive in Philadelphia until twenty years after starting her career as a nurse in 1894, and the Philadelphia she would arrive in would be fundamentally different from what had existed in her youth. The city’s Black population doubled to 84,000 between 1890 and 1900, and would increase again to 134,000 by 1920 (Mossell, 1923; McBride, 1987).

Thirty years after the bacterium causing tuberculosis had been isolated in 1882, tuberculosis treatment had progressed to the point in 1913 that a speaker at a Philadelphia specialist clinic would declare his work “had placed tuberculosis in the category of curable diseases” (Henry Phipps Institute, 1913). Philadelphia particularly became a place for advancing the study of the disease and a joining of both white and Black experts in the subject. However, the majority of Black Philadelphians clustered into a few neighborhoods (Mossell, 1923) where they suffered tuberculosis infection and mortality rates two to four times those of native-born whites.

Much of the work combating tuberculosis in Philadelphia went side-by-side with the settlement house movement. This Progressive intervention consisted of predominantly middle-class reformers, often women, living in a space that was equal parts social service center, social work education center, and (mostly) secular convent in order to aid and support the working poor. Unlike many similar establishments in New York and elsewhere that served primarily new immigrants, the St. Mary Street Settlement in Philadelphia’s 7th Ward was devoted from its founding in 1892 to Black Philadelphians, both locally born and those newly arrived on the earliest tides of the Great Migration. Along with the University of Pennsylvania, the Settlement partly sponsored DuBois’ seminal work of sociology The Philadelphia Negro. DuBois’ exhaustive, house-by-house study established the economic, social, familial, housing, and employment challenges facing the community while also subtly refuting the implication that such challenges are inherent to Black society rather than the result of persistent and systemic racism.

In 1897, a number of philanthropic endeavors combined into the Starr Centre, named for a white philanthropist whose work had included a Progressive Working Colored Men’s Club, a Penny Bank, playgrounds, and gardens. The new Centre offered its mostly Black clientele a library, a rudimentary children’s savings bank, and a Cooperative Coal Club for families to purchase coal cheaply in bulk. By 1905, it included visiting nurses and a Rainy Day Society that offered financial protection in the case of serious illness.

Tuberculosis was a particular scourge, exacerbated both by the poor housing conditions of south Philadelphia and the industries that employed many of its residents. In 1907, Mercy Hospital opened, joining Frederick Douglass Hospital as a second Black-run medical institution where ill people of the 7th Ward might feel safer than in a white-run hospital. However, neither Douglass nor Mercy offered any beds for patients with advanced tuberculosis. Theoretically, some of the best treatment for tuberculosis in the country was available in Philadelphia, but few Black patients experienced it because it was only available in white-run hospitals.

The Henry Phipps Institute for the Study, Treatment and Prevention of Tuberculosis opened in 1903 “devoted exclusively to the work of exterminating tuberculosis” (Henry Phipps Institute, 1913).  It enacted a more rigorously scientific approach to care and cure than had previously been available in Philadelphia, with strategies that included in-home treatment, removing ill patients to hospital care, and meticulous research and record-keeping. The Institute was also openly an advocacy organization, pushing for a political and medical view of tuberculosis as a preventable and curable affliction. The Institute originally operated out of a few modified homes at 3rd and Pine Streets, but in 1913 moved to a permanent, purpose-built structure at 7th and Lombard. In his “historical sketch” remarks upon the opening of the new building, Dr. Lawrence Flick, a white physician, presents himself in a humorous light as a driving force whose enthusiasm for the project had somewhat steamrolled an elderly businessman, who had just thought of putting some of his money into a pleasant little sanitarium outside the city. There is no humor, however, in his thundering condemnation of Philadelphia’s “Black belt” as “the most degraded spot physically, sanitarily, and morally in the city of Philadelphia” (Flick, 1913). As will be seen below, the Phipps Institute had struggled to attract Black patients only a short walk from the heart of Black Philadelphia. Now in 1913 the Institute’s world-class staff were even more centrally located, and urgently aware of the need for their services. Yet they were apparently still inclined to distrust and disrespect the patients they were meant to help.

Certainly Flick, and the nationally renowned white doctor Henry R. M. Landis, who aided him at Phipps from its founding, were aware of the high rates of disease in the Black population. One young Black doctor, Charles A. Lewis, graduated the University of Pennsylvania medical school with a reputation as something of a firebrand for rejecting the argument that Black patients had some inherent, racial vulnerability which explained their disproportionate death rates to tuberculosis. In the same manner as DuBois’ work a decade earlier, Lewis wrangled $125 from Penn and Lincoln Universities and conducted a hyperlocal, door-to-door survey of tuberculosis issues in a Black block in 1911-12 (McBride, 1987). Echoing work in other cities, and the beliefs the Phipps Institute was gradually adopting, Lewis situated the causes of tuberculosis primarily in “the deplorable conditions under which Negroes were forced to live” (cited in McBride, 1987). Although specific copies of this survey have not survived, it seems to have increased Flick and Landis’ urgency to find a way “behind the scenes” of the Black families in Philadelphia who were forgoing treatment. By late 1913, Dr. Landis was anxious to find a way to bring medical intervention into those houses, and as insistent as any reformer could wish in his designation of tuberculosis as “essentially a house disease” (Landis, 1913).

A neighboring organization was ready to help Flick and Landis in their quest. In 1912, in response to shifting demographics and a daunting array of needs at the Starr Centre, the Whittier Centre opened to focus on service to Black individuals, taking over management of the Rainy Day Society and the Cooperative Coal Club. By 1913, concerns about tuberculosis had only increased as Black engagement with the Phipps Institute remained low while infection and mortality rates remained high: in a city where almost 450 Black men, women, and children died of tuberculosis for every 100,000 Black residents, the nationally-renowned Phipps Institute was treating fewer than 100 Black patients a year (Pitts Mosley, 2007). Back in 1904, in the first annual report on the Henry Phipps Institute, Landis had lamented that “the blacks do not avail themselves of the opportunity for treatment… [even though] there is absolutely no distinction made between the blacks and the whites” (Henry Phipps Institute, 1904). On the other hand, he continued “[Colored people] are careless in their habits, not over cleanly, and therefore a menace to a community unless they can be brought under control and supervision,” so Black patients might be forgiven for doubting that the Institute’s white doctors truly made “absolutely no distinction” between them and the white patients. By 1913, Landis, now president of the Whittier Centre, was ready to advocate for a Black nurse “to really get behind the scenes,” “visit families in the home and subsequently gain their confidence,” and increase opportunities for the Phipps Institute to serve (and study) Black Philadelphians. On May 14th, 1913, the board voted to hire a visiting Black nurse at a respectable salary of $65 per month, the equivalent of a little less than $2,000 a month in 2023 dollars (but closer to $9,000 in purchasing power). This is where Elizabeth Tyler enters the scene in Philadelphia.

Elizabeth Tyler’s Early Career

In November of 1894, as the earliest Black hospitals in Philadelphia were forming, Minton was completing his pharmaceutical studies, and Drs. Flick and Landis were recognizing tuberculosis as an environmental and not intrinsic disease, Mary Elizabeth W. Tyler was one of 37 students in the founding class of Black nurses at the Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., The Freedmen’s Hospital was a teaching hospital in Washington, D.C. affiliated with Howard University, and founded in 1862 to provide medical care to formerly enslaved people (Stolp, 2018; Pitts Mosley, 2007). She graduated two years later, and began a career that would impact patients and systems up and down the east coast.

By 1913, when the Whittier Centre was looking for its new nurse, Elizabeth Tyler had been an alumna of Freedmen’s Hospital and a practicing nurse for just shy of 20 years. In alumni records of 1896, she is listed working as a private nurse in Northampton, Massachusetts, one of the few positions open to her (Freedmen’s Hospital, 1899). In a study of Tyler and two of her contemporaries, Pitts Mosley (2007) suggests that Tyler found this work unfulfilling both professionally and financially. By 1898 Tyler was a campus nurse at A&M University in Alabama, a position that also included teaching courses in physiology and hygiene. In 1902, she moved to Virginia to do more of the same at the St. Paul Normal and Industrial School in Lawrenceville. Tyler enjoyed the combined responsibility of educator and healthcare professional, but when a new Black nursing supervisor instituted a post-graduate course for nurses at the Lincoln School for Nursing in New York City, she left on her own personal migration.

The previously discussed settlement house movement in Philadelphia had been anticipated and mirrored by similar action in New York City, and the Henry Street Settlement was interested in hiring its first Black visiting nurse. Tyler’s classmate at the Lincoln School for Nursing, Jessie Sleet, had already spent five years revolutionizing tuberculosis care in New York City’s Black community under the (initially skeptical) auspices of the Charity Organization Society. Sleet recommended Tyler for a similar position (Keeling, 2006; Keeling, 2017; Pitts Mosley, 2007).

If Tyler did not find her work as a community nurse as dreary as some historians have suggested she found private nursing, the work was also not as straightforward as being a campus nurse and educator in the south. Initially unable to earn the trust of her putative patients, Tyler resorted to befriending janitors to find out who was ill in their buildings (Middleton, 2014), and visiting churches to see which congregants were too ill to attend (Pitts Mosley, 2007). By December, Tyler had acquired enough patients to persuade the Henry Street Settlement to hire another visiting nurse, and then to open a satellite branch in a storefront on West 61st St., where she would work with fellow Freedman’s alum Edith Carter to provide nursing to two large Black neighborhoods. For the next nine years, Tyler would give what the American Journal of Nursing called her “rare ability and devotion” (1906) to the Stillman Settlement House and the chaotic neighborhood known as San Juan Hill, tirelessly implementing not only medical but social, psychological, pharmaceutical and educational care (Keeling, 2017). No correspondence I could find makes it clear whether she moved before or after an offer of employment from the Whittier Centre, but when her path and Philadelphia’s converged at last in February 1914, she arrived to a city in significant need.

Tyler’s Work in Philadelphia & Her Successors: 1914-1924

In Philadelphia, Tyler encountered less difficulty with patient recruitment partly because of the trusted cooperative societies that already existed within the Whittier Centre (Brooks Carthon, 2016).  She began by visiting the families already connected to the Coal Cooperative and the Rainy Day Club, and quickly built on those relationships to establish health and social education. Bates, in Bargaining for Life: A Social History of Tuberculosis, quotes at length Tyler’s first report to the Whittier Centre:

On visiting the colored churches one could hear the telltale cough, note the symptoms in physique and carriage, but this was not the time nor place to win the confidence of those who needed advice. One could meet those on the street who looked ill and evidently were ill. When questioned one was almost invariably assured that the person suspected was in perfect health. This was manifestly not the way to reach them. It was finally agreed that a house-to-house investigation alone would reveal the true health conditions of the colored people in this city. These investigations began in those blocks nearest Phipps Institute The worker had not gone far when she discovered that in very many families visited there was one or more persons who were not well. This was not discovered as the result of the perfunctory question, “Is there any illness in this family?” One must first become acquainted with some member of the family, and these confidences were subsequently revealed. (Whittier Centre Annual Report, 1914, cited in Bates, 2015).

Tyler’s willingness to take the necessary time to build relationships with patients did not prevent her from rapid and indefatigable organizing and educating. An unsigned letter in the Whittier Centre archives, dated March of 1914, might very well be Tyler’s own suggestions for new initiatives, as it refers to work “we carried on in Brooklyn” with children’s and mother’s activities. If so, Tyler was expanding and transforming the work of the Whittier Centre less than a month after her arrival. She spoke at local churches, organized regular health lectures connected to the already-established mutual support societies of the Whittier Centre, and conducted regular home visits both for medical treatment and preventive measures. Recognizing how frequently mothers in the area worked outside the home, Tyler established “Little Mother’s Clubs” to combat infant mortality by training young children in everything from the importance of cleanliness to the danger of mosquitos to their infant siblings (Brooks Carthon, 2011; Whittier Centre Correspondence). By August of 1914, she was sufficiently enmeshed in service to Philadelphia that her absence on a two-week vacation was considered news worth publicizing (Wilmington Jottings, 1914)!

Between March and October, when the Whittier Centre published its Annual Report, Tyler visited 327 families or 1,084 individuals, offering medical and social service referrals, treating symptoms, and connecting families to the Phipps Institute. Her notes are not merely medical documents; she analyzes illness by its social impact, noting whether or not the head of the household was ill (yes, in 39% of cases), the number of instances where housing law was violated to family’s detriment (78) and the number of other hospitals, societies, and charities with which she cooperated (18). In the same report, she modestly acknowledges that, “It is gratifying to know the number of colored people attending has greatly increased as a direct result of these house to house visits…the number treated since February 1st, 1914, is twelve times greater than the number treated in the same length in the history of the institution” (Whittier Centre Annual Report, 1914). Now that Tyler had provided the patients, the Whittier Centre, the Pennsylvania Society for the Study of Tuberculosis, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health were all willing to provide additional staff, in the form of Black nurse Cora Johnson and the now-experienced Dr. Henry Minton.

It is worth pausing to share two specific anecdotes, drawn from J. Margo Brooks Carthon’s detailed examination of this treatment work. Early in her career, Elizabeth Tyler encouraged a sick man to come to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis; however, he insisted on returning home, where his landlady cared for him, until he was finally persuaded to enter Philadelphia General Hospital three weeks before his death. Despite the efforts of Tyler, and of the Bureau of Health that fumigated the home, his landlady was shortly diagnosed with tuberculosis herself, and Tyler mourned that, “Had the man been discovered earlier the woman might be in good health today” (Whittier Centre Annual Report, 1915, cited in Brook Carthon, 2011). In contrast, Minton’s case notes cited in the annual report of 1919 describe a woman in her early twenties who entered the clinic with the signs of early tuberculosis; following treatment, detailed instructions, and regular follow-up visits from Tyler and Johnson, the young woman not only recovered but brought her mother, sister, and two brothers to the clinic with similar symptoms, all of whom recovered with treatment. While Tyler had a clear-eyed view of the “gaps and leaks in the system which caused failure in too many places” (Whittier Centre Annual Report, 1915, cited in Brooks Carthon, 2011), her work mitigated these leaks for hundreds if not thousands of Philadelphians.

By 1921, Tyler’s last year in Philadelphia, the Henry Phipps Institute treated around 3,000 Black patients annually (Pitts Mosley, 2007) and employed six Black nurses and three Black doctors (Brooks Carton, 2011). Tyler’s impact was quantifiable even if rarely attributed to her by name; in a 1923 report on “The clinic for Negroes at the Henry Phipps Institute,” Dr. Landis highlighted the moment when the “colored nurse” began work as the start of a doubling of Black patients. A Philadelphia Tribune article from January of that year quotes Tyler’s protegée Cora Johnson extensively, describing how a nurse’s work for patients after they left the clinic encompassed nurse, social worker, dietician, and whatever else was necessary to “restore each family to a standard of normal, healthful living” (“Patients At Phipps’ Institute Clinic Carefully Watched,” 1921). Public health education initiatives continued to flourish in churches and mutual aid societies under the Whittier Centre’s care (see “Health Meeting At Bethel Church Well Attended,” 1921, as one example). Soon after Tyler’s departure, in 1923, an additional clinic opened in north Philadelphia. When a young Black sociology student conducted a detailed study of “The Negro Tuberculosis Problem in Philadelphia,” she observed that the Phipps Institute alone served more than half of the Black patients seeking treatment in Philadelphia, and that patients at Phipps and other clinics with Black clinicians were more compliant and more successful in treatment (Mossell, 1923).

Tyler herself would move on to state-level hygiene and health work in Delaware and then New Jersey, cropping up periodically in local papers as offering lessons, giving speeches, and, in 1928, presenting an award to Dr. Minton (“Present Bronze Lamp to Dr. Henry Minton,” 1928).  Her marriage records are not easily obtainable, but a 1959 obituary describes her as the widow of William P. Barringer, died in 1951, and a beloved aunt and great-aunt, as well as the “first Negro registered and trained nurse in Delaware” (Johnson, 1959). The sheer professional and geographical scope of her impact is astounding, and yet almost no information about her exists online that is not buried in primary source archives or academic journals. The teaching strategies and classroom activities outlined below allow students to piece together her story and serve as compensatory historians themselves.

Teaching Strategies

Tenth grade English Language Arts in Philadelphia’s current curriculum is a year of compelling and devastating texts (Passing, Things Fall Apart, and Sula, to name only a few) that highlight questions of identity, gender, place, and society. The reading of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks fits neatly into this curriculum, but counternarratives of Black triumph, impact, and even joy are lacking. The classroom activities listed and literacy strategies listed below enlist students themselves as amateur historians to fill this gap and tell a story of Black agency and excellence.

Gallery Walk  is a literacy and engagement activity that offers students a chance to briefly examine a variety of texts posted around the room. This is how I suggest sharing each individual text for students, allowing them to move physically to each text and document their thoughts on the note-catcher in the appendix. Since students are physically walking from text to text, it is also easier for the teacher to prompt reactions and discussions to happen among students. It may also be helpful to use a Gallery Walk to share students’ work after lessons 2 and 3.

Layered texts, another strategy promulgated by Muhammad (2020, 2019), consists of a teacher sharing multiple short, multimodal texts with students to engage interest and share knowledge on a common issue. In this curriculum, students explore layered texts in the form of primary source visuals, primary source texts, and secondary source texts and videos in order to piece together the story of Elizabeth Tyler and her impact.

When asked to “jigsaw” a text, students work in small groups or individually and are each responsible for understanding a particular smaller part of a whole-class text and then sharing their knowledge with the rest of their group or with the whole class. Jigsaw reading can be an effective way to break down a larger text, to differentiate for individual student needs, and to give students more opportunities to function as the teachers in the classroom. Depending on time and student ability, some teachers may find it more effective to “jigsaw” the primary source readings rather than asking every student to annotate every text.

Primary source analysis forms the bulk of the reading and writing students will do in this unit. The Library of Congress offers a good tool to support teachers in guiding students in this work; one of my colleagues in this seminar also created a useful note-taking tool that guides students in identifying the Place, Author, Audience, Reason & key ideas of the text. (See Marsden, R.)

Classroom Activities

Day 1 Lesson Plan: What was one major health problem facing Black Philadelphians in the early 20th century?
Objective & Materials
  • Warm-Up (5 minutes):
    • Recall a time you or someone in your household didn’t feel well. (It doesn’t have to be serious!) Write as many sensory details as you can recall about the experience.
  • Layered Texts Exploration (45 minutes)
    • Share out sources throughout the room or by distributing links to students. Allowing approximately 5 minutes per source, give students time to document their thoughts on the Layered Texts Tracker
  • Observations & Inferences (15 minutes)
    • As a class, develop and document clear answers to the following fact-based questions. Documentation on chart paper, a savable SmartBoard file, or another form of anchor chart will help ground students in further understanding in later sessions. Depending on time of year and class ability, this could be an excellent opportunity for a jigsaw activity where different groups of students independently answer these questions, or it can be a whole-class discussion.
      • What is tuberculosis or “consumption” and what is its impact on the body?
      • How does it spread?
      • What impact did it have on Philadelphia in the early 20th century?
      • What groups were more impacted than others?
      • What did Dr. Landis think was responsible for the higher rates among Black Philadelphians?
  • Exit Ticket & Evaluation: What impact would this problem have had on you if you were a young Black person living in Philadelphia at this time?
Day 2 Lesson Plan: How had this problem been addressed in other cities?
Objective & Materials
  • Warm-Up (5 minutes):
    • Recall a time you had to ask someone for help. How did you approach them? How did you persuade them?
  • Layered Texts Exploration (45 minutes)
    • Share out sources throughout the room or by distributing links to students. Allowing approximately 5 minutes per source, give students time to document their thoughts on the Layered Texts Tracker.
    • Another possibility is to divide the students into two groups, one of which focuses on sources documenting New York City and one of which focuses on the sources documenting the Phipps Institute.
  • Observations & Inferences (10 minutes)

As a class, develop and document clear answers to the following fact-based questions. Documentation on chart paper, a savable SmartBoard file, or another form of anchor chart will help ground students in further understanding in later sessions. Depending on time of year and class ability, this could be an excellent opportunity for a jigsaw activity where different groups of students independently answer these questions, or it can be a whole-class discussion.

  • What was the Henry Phipps Institute and what was its purpose?
  • What concerns did people have about consumption or tuberculosis in New York City?
  • What impact did the Black visiting nurses have on Black healthcare in New York City?
  • How did Black people in Philadelphia feel about the Phipps Institute?
  • Exit Ticket & Evaluation: Imagine that you are 1) part of the Phipps Institute board 2) part of an organization in Philadelphia trying to help people or 3) a Black parent living in one of the neighborhoods with high tuberculosis rates. Write a letter suggesting what you would like to see done.
Day 3 Lesson Plan: Who was Elizabeth W. Tyler and what did she accomplish?
Objective & Materials
  • Preparation: Warm-Up Writing (5 minutes):
    • What is a future profession you are interested in? What impact do you hope to have on that profession?
  • Exploration: Layered Texts (45 minutes)
    • Share out sources throughout the room or by distributing links to students. Allowing approximately 5 minutes per source, give students time to document their thoughts on the Layered Texts Tracker
  • Evaluation: Timeline (15 minutes)
    • Using the varied sources provided, students complete a detailed timeline of Tyler’s career as measured against significant events in Philadelphia tuberculosis history. This can be completed as an individual assessment, in small groups, or as a whole-class activity; the key is for students to demonstrate comprehension of Tyler’s place within the broader history already covered,
  • Collaboration: Obituary Rewrite (10 minutes)
    • Although Tyler Barringer’s obituary mentions her participation in the medical field, it hardly scratches the surface of her impact. Students will create either a modified obituary, an imagined eulogy, or a social media memorial post to explore her accomplishments in greater depth. See sample in Appendix.
Day 4 Lesson Plan: What are the untold or “undertold” stories of Philadelphia medicine?
Objective & Materials
  • Warm-Up (5 minutes):

We’ve spent the last three days learning about a part of Philadelphia history that is pretty hard to get information about. What is the value in learning about Tyler and her work?

  • Research Exploration (15 minutes):
    • Introduce students to the five primary sources that they can access, though with an emphasis on the first four that include written text. The Philadelphia Tribune archives are available for anyone who logs in with a Philadelphia Free Library card; if students do not have their own readily available, I’ve regularly shared my own number and PIN with students to allow them to access online resources without difficulty. Librarians at the Field Teen Center are also often willing to provide library card support to students in person or over Zoom. Ensure students understand how to access different elements of each site. Allow a five minute exploration period, then ask students to share (whole group or small group) one thing they saw that caught their attention, surprised them, or allowed them to make a connection between their own life and the life of someone who lived in Philadelphia a hundred years ago.
  • Brainstorming (10 minutes):
    • Explain the overall goal: To identify an “undertold” story in Philadelphia, a person or event, and imagine how you might tell that story. Spend the next ten minutes scanning over these different sites and articles; identify 2-4 people, ideas or issues you’d like to learn more about.
  • Outlining & Questioning (15 minutes)
    • Model for students examining one primary source. Think-aloud through the following questions:
      • What about this is interesting to me?
      • What questions does this raise for me?
      • How would this “undertold” story be good for other students to know?
      • What kind of problem or conflict would be connected to this source?
    • The primary source that lends itself best to these questions for each student will be the seed of their historical fiction narrative.
  • Additional Research (15 minutes)
    • Guide students through the Primary Source Analysis Guide in exploring primary sources in their chosen area. Focus on studying only primary sources from the four suggested databases.
  • Character Creation (15 minutes)
    • Guide students through the Character Sketch (p3) in applying their research to create a fictional or fictionalized protagonist.
Day 5 Lesson Plan: How can you tell the under told stories?
Objective & Materials
  • Warm-Up (5 minutes):
    • What’s the most important thing that happens in the life of the character you created yesterday?
  • Narrative Structure Review (10 min)
    • Review basic narrative structure (Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution). Review the outlines that can help students organize their ideas.
  • Drafting (15 min)
    • Using primary sources and additional research as necessary, students outline the exposition of their story.
  • Communal Share-Out & Resource Sharing (7 min)
    • Group students by their general topic. Students share out their plans for exposition and secondary or primary sources.
  • Drafting (15 min)
    • Using primary sources and additional research as necessary, students outline the rising action of their story.
  • Communal Share-Out & Feedback (7 min)
    • Students return to their previous groups to share out their story’s direction and gain feedback on next steps.
  • Final Drafting “Sprint” (15 min)
    • Students outline the climax and falling action/resolution of their story.

Note: This is planned as a second-semester unit, with students who have already extensively reviewed these concepts of story structure and had some experience analyzing and writing short narratives. If using this unit earlier in the year, plan two or three class periods to allow for the introduction of each narrative concept and a more leisurely drafting pace.

Ongoing Extension: How would you share these stories?
Objective & Materials
  • Objective: Students will identify a written, visual, or auditory means by which to share their planned story and the result of their mini-research into Philadelphia history.
  • Materials: Multi-Modal Choice Board

As either a series of lessons the next week, or as intermittent lessons throughout the reading of a longer text such as Henrietta Lacks, students can revisit and reimagine their stories. The attached choice board offers a variety of ways students can recount their stories while allowing for artistic or persuasive as well as narrative creativity.

By the close of this one-week unit, students have explored a number of primary sources directly connected to Philadelphia medical history, learned the background of an impactful Black nurse, and learned how much of her story is unknown and, perhaps at this remove, unknowable. Depending on student need and interest, a teacher may choose to continue revising and improving the short fiction stories as an ongoing creative writing exercise focused on developing counternarratives, or to guide students into further primary source research through a connection with the Free Library, Temple University Urban Archives, or other local resources, or to share out the stories at spaced intervals throughout the reading of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as a way of honoring students’ work and also grounding new learning in what they have already learned about their local history.


Bibliography: Teacher & Student Use

AIDS IN TUBERCULOSIS FIGHT: Henry Phipps Gives 500,000 to University of Pennsylvania. (1909, December 21). New York Times.

This news clipping is a primary source describing the founding of the Phipps Institute to treat tuberculosis.

Bates Center. (n.d.). Mercy-Douglass Hospital School of Nursing. Mercy-Douglass Hospital School of Nursing Records.

This site contains highly detailed primary sources on early 20th century Black nurses in Philadelphia, including personal letters, photos, etc. This is a great resource for students writing historical fiction or just researching medical history in Philadelphia.

Brooks Carthon, J. M. (2011, August). Making ENDS Meet: Community Networks and Health Promotion Among Blacks in the City of Brotherly Love. American Journal of Public Health, 101(8), 1392-1401.

This article draws specific connections between modern health support and that of the early 20th century, and highlights how Tyler was specifically successful because she leveraged community groups and networks that already existed in Philadelphia’s Black community before she arrived.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Basic TB Facts | TB | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 18, 2023, from

This site lays out the danger of tuberculosis and its history in a straightforward way to give students background.

Consumption Holds Sway Unchecked. (1897, January 13). New York Journal.  From 76.38 Scrapbooks 1891-1893, 1896-1897, 1899-1900.Press clippings concerning matters specifically or generally relevant to public health. City Archives, Philadelphia, PA.

This news clipping highlights the problem with tuberculosis (called “consumption” here) in New York City. Use this clip to establish the problem was not unique to Philadelphia, and to highlight how the Settlement Houses in New York went about engaging more patients.

Craig, F. A. (1915). A study of the housing and social conditions in selected districts of Philadelphia. Henry Phipps Institute.

This study closely examines housing conditions for Black, Jewish and Italian groups in Philadelphia. Some key elements are excerpted in the Appendix. The purpose of this source is to highlight the impact of housing and poverty on tuberculosis, and to help students visualize (through the maps and displays) how neighborhoods were segregated.

DuBois, W. E. B., Anderson, E., & Eaton, I. (1899). “Special Report on Negro Domestic Service in the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia.”  In The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (pp. 427-510). University of Pennsylvania Press.

This appendix to the original The Philadelphia Negro publication may seem daunting to students at first but contains a number of interesting anecdotes and specific examples of life as a servant in Philadelphia at the turn of the century. This source can be useful for students to skim and then dive deeper on something that interests them.

Editorial Comment. (1906, September). The American Journal of Nursing, 6(12). Retrieved May 18, 2023, from

This excerpt from the American Journal of Nursing includes a description of Elizabeth Tyler’s early work in New York City.

Freedmen’s Hospital, Curtis, A. M., Murray, D. A. P. & Daniel Murray Pamphlet Collection. (1899) Report of the Freedmen’s Hospital to the Secretary of the Interior. Washington: Government Printing Office. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

This report on Freedmen’s Hospital includes detailed information on who the hospital was serving, if students wish to go deeper into the early training of Black nurses, but is also notable for containing a small note on Elizabeth Tyler’s current work.

HEALTH MEETING AT BETHEL CHURCH WELL ATTENDED. (1921, June 25). Philadelphia Tribune, 1.

This news clipping from shortly before or shortly after Elizabeth Tyler left Philadelphia highlights how health advocacy and education had become an integral part of the churches and nonprofits of Philadelphia due in part to her efforts.

Henry Phipps Institute., University of Pennsylvania. (1905-1910). Annual report of the Henry Phipps Institute. Philadelphia: The Institute.

This report on the first five years of the Institute includes Dr. Landis’ rather exasperated (not to say racist) description of Black patients’ refusal to seek care regularly at the Phipps Institute.

Henry Phipps Institute. (1913). An account of the exercises on the occasion of the opening of the new building of the Henry Phipps Institute. [Philadelphia]. Retrieved from

This program from the Institute’s second opening includes a short history of the Institute and a first-person account of its founding.

Higgins, J. (2016). Public Health. Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from

This excerpt from the Philadelphia Encyclopedia describes tuberculosis’ impact on Philadelphia in the second section, in clear, student-friendly language.

Johnson, A. V. (1959, May 5). Wilmington Roundup: FUNERAL SERVICES. Philadelphia Tribune, 14.

This news clipping contains Elizabeth Tyler’s obituary.

Landis, H. R.M. December 27, 1913. [Letter from Dr. Henry R. M. Landis to Bernard Neumann, secretary of the Philadelphia Housing Commission, unequivocally ascribing tuberculosis to “a house disease.”] Retrieved from Housing Association of the Delaware Valley (HADV) Collection, Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Box 14.

In this letter photographed from the archives, Landis clearly states the environmental impact on tuberculosis and its contagious nature. This is in contrast to other views from the time that attributed high Black tuberculosis rates to an inherent “weakness” in race.

Landis, H. R. M. (1923). “The clinic for Negroes at the Henry Phipps Institute”. In SIXTEENTH REPORT OF THE HENRY PHIPPS INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY, TREATMENT, AND PREVENTION OF TUBERCULOSIS (pp. 228-232). Henry Phipps Institute.

This later report on the institute includes a segment on specifically Elizabeth Tyler’s work and that of other Black nurses, although without ever naming them.

Locklear, J. M. (2022). Mercy-Douglass Hospital School of Nursing | Exhibits – Explore the story of women’s activism through documents & images. In Her Own Right. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from

This site goes deeper into the history and origins of the Mercy-Douglass Hospital School of Nursing and provides interesting background to the primary sources previously mentioned.

Marshall, Edwards. (1920, November 28). America will miss scientific chance if Phipps closes. The Detroit Free Press, C1.

This news clipping highlights the work of the Institute and its impact on medicine in Philadelphia and elsewhere. The funding crisis which this author is concerned about was resolved by additional funding from the state and the University of Pennsylvania.

Medecins San Frontieres. (2014, March 20). How The Body Reacts To Tuberculosis. YouTube. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from

This video from Doctors Without Borders animates the impact of tuberculosis on the body in student-friendly language.

Middleton, D. J. (2022, June 18). Black Nurses of Stillman House: A Bygone but Not Forgotten Settlement Era — Unique Coloring. Unique Coloring. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from

This short history of the Stillman House contains the best-quality picture of a young Elizabeth W. Tyler and describes her work in NYC in student-accessible language.

Moorland Spingarn Research Center. (2021). Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing Images Collection | Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing | Howard University. Digital Howard @ Howard University. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from

This collection includes a photo  of the first graduating class of Freedmen’s Hospital, with Elizabeth Tyler prominently featured.

Mossell, S. T. (1923). A study of the negro tuberculosis problem in Philadelphia. Henry Phipps Institute.

This study written after Tyler’s time in Philadelphia covers the Phipps Institute’s impact and quantifies some of her work. It also includes detailed charts and analysis of the effect of tuberculosis on Philadelphia. It is not extensively quoted in this curriculum but would be a good place to start for anyone who wanted to go deeper into tuberculosis and Philadelphia specifically.

Pitts Mosley, M. O. (2007). Satisfied to Carry the Bag: Three Black Community Health Nurses’ Contributions to Health Care Reform, 1900-1937. In P. D’Antonio, E. Baer, S. Rinker, & J. E. Lynaugh (Eds.), Nurses’ Work: Issues Across Time and Place (pp. 65-82). Springer Publishing Company.

This chapter closely covers Jessie Sleet, Elizabeth Tyler and a third nurse whose impact on New York City and elsewhere saved many lives. The excerpted section on Tyler specifically on pages 70-72 highlights the effect of Stillman House.

Patients At Phipps’ Institute Clinic Carefully Watched. (1921, January 15). The Philadelphia Tribune, 1.

This news clipping describes in detail the work nurses like Tyler did to help their patients in the home and maintain their care. Cora Johnson, the nurse extensively quoted in the news article, was hired to assist Tyler within a few months of Tyler’s arrival.

Present Bronze Lamp To Dr. Henry Minton. (1928, May 31). The Philadelphia Tribune, 5.

This short clip describes how Tyler returned to Philadelphia to present an award to a Black doctor she had worked with. The significance of the clipping is its reference to Tyler’s work in New Jersey.

Ryan, R. M. (2013). Settlement Houses. Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from

This article gives a brief overview of the Settlement house movement in Philadelphia, which the Whittier Centre grew out of.

United States. Department of the Interior. (1918). Course of nurse training at the Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington, D.C. G.P.O. Retrieved from

Although dated about twenty-five years after Tyler’s time as part of the inaugural class of nurses at Freedmen’s, this four-page document is fascinating in its description of everything nurses were expected to learn and do over their course of study.

Unsigned. March 12, 1914. [Unsigned letter to Susan Wharton suggesting new activities for the Abraham Lincoln Club.] Retrieved from Housing Association of the Delaware Valley (HADV) Collection, Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Box 14.

This unsigned, typed letter addressed to Susan Wharton, part of the founding staff of Whittier Centre, suggests various activities for the new Abraham Lincoln club. Given the references to Brooklyn and some of the work described, it’s possible this is a letter from Tyler or someone working with her.

San Diego County Office of Education. (2022, May 24). Collaborative Efforts Teaches Students About Tuberculosis | post. San Diego County Office of Education. Retrieved May 18, 2023, from

This press release highlights work done today by students in San Diego to educate their peers about tuberculosis and demonstrates for students how the issue is ongoing.

Sanitary. (1897, January 7). Independent. New York. From 76.38 Scrapbooks 1891-1893, 1896-1897, 1899-1900. Press clippings concerning matters specifically or generally relevant to public health. City Archives, Philadelphia, PA.

This news clipping specifically calls for the founding of a tuberculosis-specific treatment center in Philadelphia, a request that would be met within six years by the opening of the Phipps Institute.

School District of Philadelphia. (2022, August). The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Unit. School District of Philadelphia ELA Units Grades 4-12. Retrieved May 10, 2023, from

This site contains the School District curriculum on Henrietta Lacks which this unit is conceived as an introduction to.

Skloot, R. (2011). The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Crown.

Rebecca Skloot’s book on Henrietta Lacks’ life, death, family, and impact on medicine explores medical ethics as a concept as well as recounting the history of the case. It is a 10th-grade text in the current School District of Philadelphia curriculum.

Sleet, J. C. (1901, July). A Successful Experiment. The American Journal of Nursing, 1(10), 729-731. Retrieved May 16, 2023, from

This article from the first volume of the American Journal of Nursing is a detailed account by Jessie Sleet of the work of the Black visiting nurses in New York City. Sleet would recommend Tyler for her job in New York City.

Stolp, M. (2018, March 25). Freedmen’s Hospital/Howard University Hospital (1862– ) •. Blackpast. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from

In student-friendly language, this short article gives the history of Freedmen’s Hospital.

Tyler, Elizabeth W. February 18, 1915. [Signed card to Bernard Neumann requesting a monthly meeting of the Whittier Centre Executive Committee.] Retrieved from Housing Association of the Delaware Valley (HADV) Collection, Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Box 14.

This visiting card requesting a meeting is interesting for being a clear example of Tyler’s handwriting and signature.

Wilmington Jottings. (1914, August 29). The Philadelphia Tribune, 4.

This “local news” clipping includes a reference to Tyler’s taking vacation in August after she arrived in Philadelphia.

Wilson, C. (2020, February 27). Visiting Nurse Elizabeth Tyler, heroine of San Juan Hill. New York Amsterdam News.

In student-friendly language, this short article sums up Tyler’s work in New York City.

Additional Works Cited

Bates, B. (2015). Bargaining for Life: A Social History of Tuberculosis, 1876-1938. University of Pennsylvania Press, Incorporated.

Brooks Carthon, J. M. (2010). Bridging the Gaps: Collaborative Health Work in the City of Brotherly Love, 1900-1920. In S. Lewenson & P. D’Antonio (Eds.), Nursing Interventions Through Time: History as Evidence (pp. 75-87). Springer Publishing Company.

Brooks Carthon, J. M. (2011, January). Life and Death in Philadelphia’s Black Belt: A Tale of an Urban Tuberculosis Campaign, 1900-1930. Nursing History Review, 19(1), 29-52.

Brooks Carthon, J. M. (2016). Minority Nurses in Diverse Communities: Mary Elizabeth Tyler and the Whittier Centre in Philadelphia. In S. B. Lewenson, A. McAllister, & K. M. Smith (Eds.), Nursing History for Contemporary Role Development. Springer Publishing Company.

Keeling, A. (2006). “Carrying Ointments and Even Pills!” Medicines in the Work of Henry Street Settlement Visiting Nurses, 1893-1944. Nursing History Review, 14, 7-30. 10.1891/1062-8061.14.7

Keeling, A. W. (2017). Visiting Nurses in Cities, Parishes, and Missions. In M. C. Hehman, A. W. Keeling, & J. Kirchgessner (Eds.), History of Professional Nursing in the United States: Toward a Culture of Health. Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated.

McBride, D. (1987, Spring). The Henry Phipps Institute, 1903-1937: Pioneering Tuberculosis Work With An Urban Minority. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 61(1), 78-97. JSTOR. Retrieved May 12, 2023, from

Muhammad, G. (2020). Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. Scholastic.

Muhammad, G. (2023). Unearthing Joy: A Guide to Culturally and Historically Responsive Curriculum and Instruction. Scholastic Incorporated.

Pitts Mosley, M. O. (1992). A history of Black leaders in nursing: The influence of four Black community health nurses on the establishment, growth, and practice of public health nursing in New York City, 1900-1930 [[Doctoral Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University]]].

Pitts Mosley, M. O. (2007). Satisfied to Carry the Bag: Three Black Community Health Nurses’ Contributions to Health Care Reform, 1900-1937. In P. D’Antonio, E. Baer, S. Rinker, & J. E. Lynaugh (Eds.), Nurses’ Work: Issues Across Time and Place (pp. 65-82). Springer Publishing Company.

Shih-en Leu, G. (2020). My Life the Way I See It: Reconstructing Minoritized Youth With Disabilities As Critical Thinkers. International Literacy Association, 64(2), 181-190.

Steiss, J. (2019). Dismantling Winning Stories: Lessons from Applying Critical Literature Pedagogy to The Odyssey. International Literacy Association, 63(4), 433-441.

Thomas, E. E., & Stornaiuolo, A. (2016, Fall). Restorying the Self: Bending Toward Textual Justice. Harvard Educational Review, 86(3), 313-338.

Thompson, J. (2022). Restorative Reading: Using Counternarratives to Counter Harm For Healing. English Journal, 111(5), 79-86.

Vue, R., Haslerig, S. J., & Allen, W. R. (2017, October). Affirming Race, Diversity, and Equity Through Black and Latinx Students’ Lived Experiences. American Educational Research Journal, 54(5), 868-903.