Reading and Writing Prompts for Educators

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Margaret Walker’s Golden Lines
“Golden Lines” are great classroom discussion starters that may be used to spark students' daily journal writing topics.

Journal 12, page 1 (May 1938)
If I am not in love then at least I am in hell and passion is a terrible thing.

Journal 20, page 3 (October 1943)
Life has never a dull moment and nothing ever bores me. I am honest and I have courage.

Journal 20, page 8 (October 1943)
Always my hunger seems boundless and my desire greater than it seems possible to satisfy, yet I have never known this Spirit to fail to fill me with joy, and peace, and a knowledge that is rich in my Lord.

Journal 32, page 4 (September 1948)
If my work could sell me as my tongue and personality I would be all right.

Journal 47, page 7 (February 1954)
I am so completely at peace with everyone and myself…My money seems to be sufficient for what I need.

Journal 47, page 17 (March 1954)
I am growing very discouraged about my writing. Maybe I do not have it in me any longer if I ever did. I am almost ashamed to show my writing for fear it will not be any good. But I must.

Journal 72, page 60 (May 1964)
Going home to Mississippi now really makes me feel sad, burdened and sad. What is to happen to my people this summer in Mississippi? If the Civil Rights Bill passes then some of the violence may be dampened, if it does not pass all of us shudder to think of the consequences. Regardless of anything we shudder to think of what will happen in Mississippi this summer.

Journal 90, page 119 (April 1972)
Black America stands today at the crossroads of destiny for the future of all our people in the world. It is not a time of joyous freedom but a crucial time of unmitigated tyranny—Not a time of tranquility but a stormy time of senseless war and killing—There is no lull or mercy in the oppressor’s brutality—Starvation and suffering exist in the midst of affluence and waste—Death and destruction control all the nations and we fight against evil and injustice.

Journal 90, page 120 (April 1972)
What is our hope for Black people? How can we talk about life tomorrow for our children unless we dare do something to shape that life today? For there is no question but that worldwide societal revolution is a fact of our times.