Archive for August, 2011

Syllabus and Readings Page Updated

August 29, 2011

At long last, the Syllabus is just about done. The only things missing are the links to the three playlists I’ll be posting online. I expect to add those this week.

I’ve also updated the Readings page: there are live links to every reading except the Gregory text.

About the reading – there is a lot of it. I kind of warned you all about that in the course description, and I wasn’t kidding around.

I tried to do two things with the readings: first, I wanted to include some contemporary documents, and there are a number of those. Newspapers, magazine articles, books, music and films of the period give us a view the text cannot duplicate.

Second, the Southern Diaspora touched nearly every aspect of American life, and it’s useful for us to stop and take a closer look at some of the more important developments, particularly in politics and religion. There are many books that, while not directly dealing with the migration, deal with its causes and effects, and I’ve included (usually) quite brief excerpts from a number of these, hoping that those of you interested in these other topics will be encouraged to read further.

You’ll be busy – but I think you’ll find the time well spent.

Tonight’s video is the incomparable Dorothy Love Coates with the Original Gospel Harmonettes. The Great Migration set changes in motion that transformed the African-American church, and with it its music. Ms. Coates was one of the genres great practitioners – please enjoy!


A Good Day’s Work: Bibliography and More Syllabus Posted!

August 23, 2011

I’ve got almost all the Bibliography up, and I added weeks 5-7 to the Syllabus page (but not to the Syllabus PDF!). My goal is to have the Syllabus and Bibliography complete this week.

Thanks to everyone for the comments, suggestions, questions and what-all over the last couple of weeks. It really is exciting for me to see people so involved a month before the first class!

A weird but good video – these are the Clara Ward Singers appearing on Shindig! (that explains the white girls hopping around behind them) sometime in 1964. The song is The Old Landmark. Please enjoy!

Syllabus Weeks 1-4 Is Up!

August 13, 2011

You’ll find it to your right, under the “Pages” heading. You’ll also find a link to a PDF version at the bottom of this post. Note that for those of you who haven’t already purchased the text, you might want to get a move on. Amazon is saying “usually ships in 1 to 3 weeks,” which generally means they’ll never ship another. Powell’s only had one as of this morning, although Barnes and Noble’s website indicated no lack of availability. Alibris has a couple of cheap hardcover copies, and some inexplicably expensive paperbacks.

I have not seen any on the shelves at Harvard Bookstore or the Harvard Coop, but I’m sure they’d be available for special order at either store.

At any rate, since the Introduction and Chapter 1 are assigned for our first meeting, why wait?

So here’s a PDF syllabus, with links to all the readings except the Gregory text. Have fun and remember it’ll always be on the blog as a blog page.

Here also is a laid-back Muddy Waters doing one of his signature tunes, Got My Mojo Workin’. Backing Muddy is Sonny Boy Williamson on harmonica, Otis Spann on piano, and Willie Dixon on bass. I’m not sure who the guitarist is. Anybody know? Please enjoy!