Teaching Students about Margaret Avery: A Remarkable Actress and Icon
Margaret Avery, born on January 20, 1944, is an extraordinary actress, singer, and icon who has been captivating audiences for over four decades. Teaching students about her life and work can inspire future actors, provide valuable insights into the history of American entertainment, and showcase the importance of striving for success in the face of adversity.
Early Life and Education:
Margaret Avery was born in Mangum, Oklahoma, and grew up in San Diego, California. She attended San Francisco State University where she majored in Education. After graduating from college, Avery worked as a public school teacher in Los Angeles before deciding to pursue a career in acting.
Margaret Avery’s first acting role came in 1972 when she appeared in the film “Something Evil.” However, it was her portrayal of Shug Avery in the 1985 movie “The Color Purple” that earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The film also starred iconic actors such as Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Danny Glover.
Aside from her role in “The Color Purple,” Avery has appeared in various films and television shows throughout her illustrious career. Some notable examples include roles in movies like “Blueberry Hill,” “White Man’s Burden,” “Meet the Browns,” and “Proud Mary.” Her television appearances include hit series like “Sanford & Son,” “The A-Team,” and more recently as a regular cast member on BET’s “Being Mary Jane.”
Creating Lesson Plans on Margaret Avery:
When teaching students about Margaret Avery, educators can focus on different aspects of her life to create engaging lesson plans:
1. Acting Career: Analyze her performances across different films and television shows. Discuss her choices as an actress and how they impact her portrayal of characters.
2. Historical Context: Examine the significance of “The Color Purple” and its impact on American cinema, particularly in terms of the representation of women and African Americans. Discuss the significance of Margaret Avery’s nomination for an Academy Award in that context.
3. Perseverance: Discuss the challenges Margaret Avery faced as she transitioned from working as a public school teacher to pursuing her passion for acting. Explore the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity and encourage students to consider how they can apply this lesson to their own lives.
4. Activism: Margaret Avery has been a public advocate for social justice, particularly in the areas of education, civil rights, and women’s rights. Discuss her contributions to these movements and their relevance today.
Margaret Avery’s life and career offer students valuable lessons about resilience, ambition, and the power of art. By teaching our youth about important figures like Avery, we can inspire them to overcome any obstacles they may face, while nurturing their appreciation for culture and history.