Yankee Doodle’s Pen: Wheatley, Washington, and Longfellow
Step back in time and discover what a slave, a general, and a poet have in common. This reading for middle grade students celebrates Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March and Patriot’s Day and National Poetry Month in April while focusing on American history all year. The 50-minute play lends itself to students, parents, professionals, or a combination in the cast. It is classroom tested and meets the Massachusetts Curriculum Standards.
In “Yankee Doodle’s Pen” the characters of Phyllis Wheatley (a young black poet), George Washington (Commander of the Continental Army), and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (a world famous poet) appear on stage to share their common love of America. The action takes place at the Longfellow House in Cambridge, where each of the three lived or visited over the years. The house was the Headquarters of General George Washington in 1775 and 1776.
These three patriots write letters and read them out-loud, describing dramatic colonial and Victorian events. They hold an actual press conference together, expressing their opinions about war and slavery. Their vision of freedom binds them together. The purpose of the play is to present living history to inspire 4th through 6th graders to become familiar with our great leaders and poets from the past.