The African-American Experience as Learned Through 20th Century Jazz

Welcome to the Multicultural Kids Blog Carnival. This is the one time a month that we talk about one topic. January’s topic is Music and Art around the world. I hope you enjoy the posts of participating bloggers as they enrich the lives of our children and families.
With Martin Luther King Day approaching quickly, and Black History Month just a few weeks away, I want to give my children an insightful, understandable (on the elementary level) but meaningful look into the continuing plight of African-Americans in this country.  The only way to understand the situation now going forward, is to have a firm understanding of where we have been and the struggles of the past.  I wanted my teaching to be more broad than Martin Luther King Jr. – because to understand his contribution, you must be able to understand the situations leading up to his eventual rise.

Wanting art and music to be the core of our curriculum, in our homeschool, we are going to celebrate and study the contribution, struggles, and successes of African-Americans through Negro Spirituals and 20th and 21st century music and art.

To start, I have chosen a few 20th century artists, which I believe beautifully expressed the early experience of Africans and African-Americans in this country.
Teaching AA History through 20th Century Music
Artist: Duke Ellington – Horn
Album: Black, Brown and Beige Suite
Release: 1958

This suite received mixed reviews. This 20 minute piece breaks the African slave – 1930’s into 3 different time periods.

~Piece 1 representing Coming from Africa as a Slave – West Indian Dance
~Piece 2 representing the plight of the newly freed slave – Emancipation Celebration
~Piece 3 representing The Affluent life of some African-Americans living in Harlem during the 20′ and 30’s – Sugar Hill Penthouse




Artist: Oliver Nelson
Album: Afro-American Sketches
Song: Disillusioned
Release: 1962

Disillusioned represented the disappointment but perseverance of Southern Blacks as they moved North in search of a better life during the great migration of early 20th century.






Artist: John Carter – clarinetist
Album: Fields
Song: Juba’s Run
Release: 1988

Juba’s Run represents the Slave’s fight for freedom.




Artist:  Wynton Marsalis

Album: Blood in the Field

Release: 1997


A 3 CD compilation that depict a slave couples journey to freedom




Artist: Wadada Leo Smith
Album: 10 Freedom Summers
Song: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 381 Days

This song brings attention to the 1 year struggle to desegregate buses in Alabama.




I think this song, more than any other – the general public can relate to.  It doesn’t feel right to have a discussion of Music representing the plight of African-Americans without discussing Lift Every Voice and Sing.  While not jazz like the others listed, this song speaks to the struggles and important figures of the African-American community as they struggled to live under Jim Crowe and Segregation.  It’s very well-known – having been established from a poem by James Weldon Johnson.   I think it’s a good tool for teaching generally about Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movements. – as it is associated with that time period.

African-Americas have come a long way, but It’s far from over.    Government sponsored segregation is over, but the work or rectifying the self segregation has still yet to be done.


The reason why I wanted to host this blogging carnival, is because I think it’s so important to expose children to other cultures and different ideas so they can fully grow into global citizens. Please take a look at the posts from participating blogs. There are a myriad of ideas, crafts and richness contained in each and every post.


General Arts


Central and South America









About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. Nice collection! I could listen to jazz all evening (and probably will this evening, given all this) but it’s nice to have the background to reflect on and not just the chords.

    Seems like a great selection of posts all up!
    Bronwyn Joy recently posted…Karaoke MamaMy Profile

    • Hey Bronwyn,

      Thank you so much for stopping by! It is a fabulous selection of posts. As I was reading all the posts before carnival, I was amazed how all of your are purposefully enriching the lives of your children and families. It’s world changing. Just imagine if this post would reach and inspire half of the world for change. A generation or 2 or raising global citizens and who knows what this world could be like. Just think of it!

      That’s how it happens. 1 family inspires another – and then another – and then another still. You guys are doing such fabulist things!

      Thank you so much for being part of the carnival!
      Lisa recently posted…Homeschool Link-up – Week 16My Profile

  2. great music and artists you listed. There is a great need for kids, even adults, to listen to the music that really started it all…too often it;s only the popular stuff that grabs their attention.
    karen recently posted…In the Kitchen with FlyLadyMy Profile

  3. Considering it was a last minute post you did a wonderful job! Kuddos to you! I really enjoyed listening to videos, and will have my little one watch, and listen as well. Love the variety of participating bloggers in this carnival. Pinning!
    Frances recently posted…Successful Spanish Immersion PlaydateMy Profile

  4. <<<>>>>
    Love this…wow, so true. Beautifully said.
    Pinning so I can watch the vid with my kids closer to MLK Jr’s bday and again during Feb. So well done, Lisa.
    Thanks so much.
    Chris recently posted…Theme Thursday or What Happens When You’re Camping, it Rains and You Find Yourself in a Taxidermy Shop in the Adirondacks with Boys: 1/9/14 “Bear”My Profile

  5. Oops, I C and P-ed a line from your blog about understanding struggles of the past and MLK…hmmm, sorry it did not appear in the comment. Didn’t want you to be confused abt what I meant….
    Have a great night.
    Chris recently posted…Theme Thursday or What Happens When You’re Camping, it Rains and You Find Yourself in a Taxidermy Shop in the Adirondacks with Boys: 1/9/14 “Bear”My Profile

  6. Sorry…Copy and Paste….

    Should haw written it out…I guess I just assume people can read my mind!LOL

    Beautifully done, Thanks for putting this together!

    Have a great day:)
    Chris recently posted…Theme Thursday or What Happens When You’re Camping, it Rains and You Find Yourself in a Taxidermy Shop in the Adirondacks with Boys: 1/9/14 “Bear”My Profile

  7. Very nice. I couldn’t agree more about children learning about different cultures. This is very informative. I enjoyed myself at this carnival. Thanks! Hopping over from Mommy Monday Blog hop.

    Carica recently posted…Beyonce replaces Jesus in the Last SupperMy Profile

  8. What a great collection of resources to learn from! Thank you for including my Russian Art Article.

  9. This is an interesting post! Thanks a lot for sharing this in the Little Luxuries linky party at Pink Heart String. Hope to see you again on the party this week 🙂
    kareen liez recently posted…Little Luxuries 2:Toy Storage BenchMy Profile


  1. […] back to Tasmania soon – but I wanted to join in with the Multicultural Kids Bloggers in their Music And Arts blog carnival hosted by The Squishable Baby. Check it […]

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