the Civil Rights Movement

It’s a HUGE subject.  It’s a tremendous puzzle-parts of which are still unsolved, unresolved.  How do you introduce it let alone teach it?  How do you make it captivating?  In 45 minutes?!

The Magellans (2-3 grade Explorers) started with slavery.  They never disappoint when it comes to questions:  What was it?  Who did it? Why? What did they do with their babies? What was the underground railroad? Who were the conductors? Why was Martin Luther King, Jr. on the train? Can we see a picture of him in color?  Was Bob Marley African-American?  Where did ‘Hoe Emma Hoe’ do her hoeing? Why did they sing about it?  Why would you sing songs to communicate?  WAIT!  I heard that song before!  We sang that in my choir once.  What are we overcoming?  What does all this have to do with Michael Jackson?   He was African-American……

This was sort of how our introduction to the Civil Rights Movement went yesterday.  It was a long way from 1830 to 1950 to 2013.  But with the help of the Freedom Singers, Dr. King, Michael Jackson, the Commodores, Aretha Franklin, the great Leontyne Price and Otis Redding—–we made it at least to about 1992.  Later in the week, with the help of Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, and the Nashville Quartet, we are going to continue to explore how music was used to communicate when people weren’t allowed to talk to one another, how music was used as a vehicle for expressing emotion, for protesting inequality, for bringing joy, and for bringing about change, inside us and in the world.


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