Teaching Students About Nell Carter
As teachers, it is our responsibility to educate students on the influential people who have paved the way in various industries – people like Nell Carter. Nell Carter was a talented African-American actress and singer who broke barriers during her lifetime and left an impressive legacy in the world of entertainment. By including her story in your curriculum, you can inspire and educate your students about this trailblazing performer.
Early Life and Career
Nell Carter was born on September 13, 1948, in Birmingham, Alabama. Despite her challenging upbringing, she pursued her passion for music from a young age. After facing adversity through racial segregation and overcoming personal struggles, she made her way to Broadway. In the early 1970s, Carter began performing in various theater productions which led to her first big break.
Success on Broadway
In 1978, Carter gained widespread recognition for her role as Effie White in the original production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” This role earned her a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and launched her career as a star on both stage and screen. Her powerful voice and captivating stage presence made Nell a favorite among theatergoers. Throughout her career, she appeared in numerous Broadway productions and off-Broadway shows.
Carter’s success on Broadway opened up doors for her career in television. She was most well-known for starring as Nell Harper in the popular 1980s sitcom “Gimme a Break!” The show featured Carter as a housekeeper trying to help raise three children after their mother passed away. “Gimme a Break!” demonstrated Nell’s ability to combine humor and heart, making it a beloved series that ran for six seasons.
Impact on Entertainment Industry
Nell Carter’s achievements were noteworthy not only because of the incredible talent she possessed but also because she was an African-American woman who broke barriers in an industry where opportunities for people of color were scarce. By sharing Nell Carter’s story, you can teach your students about the importance of determination, resilience, and breaking down boundaries.
Possible Classroom Activities
1. Introduce students to Nell Carter by sharing video clips of her performances in “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Gimme a Break!” Discuss her unique singing style and her impact on both stage and screen.
2. Have students research other influential African-American performers from history and present their findings in class.
3. Incorporate a lesson on the history of Broadway and the evolution of opportunities for people of color within the entertainment industry.
4. Encourage students to express their thoughts in an essay or journal entry about how Nell Carter’s story inspires them or relates to their own experiences.