BACKGROUND Lay of the Land | Bertha Landis | The Emergence of Gospel Quartets: Praising God in the Twentieth Century
MAKING THE FILM Birth of a Film: A Grant in Search of a Subject | Changing Course | Observations on Editing | Filmmakers | Film Facts
Folklorist/educator Paddy Bowman prepared this guide for grades 10-12, as one of a four-part series, using video excerpts (each about ten minutes) from The Music District, A Singing Stream, Cowboy Poets, and The Men Who Dance the Giglio.
A Singing Stream: A Black Family Chronicle
Filmmaker Tom Davenport Copyright Date 1986.
Distributor Davenport Films.
Excerpt Running Time 12 minutes.
Use one of these quotations to spark discussion.
I went to work and I've been climbing ever since.
My mother told me I had to go register, that was just something I had to do, we had to vote. "Make sure you vote." Voting day she'd remind us.
We had a school here, and the set-up was altogether different from the white school. We couldn't ever get what we needed. . . .The bus would pass us with the white kids and we had to walk.
Once they saw that, hey, these people are just not a bunch of people from the farm and don't have any intelligence whatsoever. . . .They can come in here compete with us on the same level academically, things kind of changed a little bit.
2. Learn more about the Landis family and the Golden Echoes as well as African American quartet singing at www.folkstreams.net/context,34. Have students research African American sacred music genres such as quartet singing for class presentations (see Resources).
3. Bertha Landis's children had to attend all-black schools. Standing in the kitchen, her grandson tells of integrating the local school system. Where do students tell stories? What stories do they tell about challenges? Ask students to tell a story about their family, a school experience, overcoming a challenge, or music they love.
4. Brainstorm with students a list of venues where various cultural groups in your community hear and perform sacred music, from religious denominations of all kinds to CDs, radio, TV, and the Internet. Next, list different genres and styles students know of. Divide students into teams to document a sacred music tradition in a classroom multimedia presentation. One team might focus on the history and regional variations of African American quartet singing like that of the Golden Echoes (see Resources).
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