Description : The ballad "John Henry" is the most recorded folk song in American history and John Henry--the mighty railroad man who could blast through rock faster than a steam drill--is a towering figure in our culture. In Steel Drivin' Man, Scott Reynolds Nelson recounts the true story of the man behind the iconic American hero, telling the poignant tale of a young Virginia convict who died working on one of the most dangerous enterprises of the time, the first rail route through the Appalachian Mountains. Using census data, penitentiary reports, and railroad company reports, Nelson reveals how John Henry, victimized by Virginia's notorious Black Codes, was shipped to the infamous Richmond Penitentiary to become prisoner number 497, and was forced to labor on the mile-long Lewis Tunnel for the C&O railroad. Equally important, Nelson masterfully captures the life of the ballad of John Henry, tracing the song's evolution from the first printed score by blues legend W. C. Handy, to Carl Sandburg's use of the ballad to become the first "folk singer," to the upbeat version by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Attractively illustrated with numerous images, Steel Drivin' Man offers a marvelous portrait of a beloved folk song--and a true American legend.
Description : We are what we listen to. That's the premise of this study of 100 songs that have shaped and defined the American experience, from the Colonial period to the present. • Takes an entertaining approach to understanding the cultural tides in American history • Covers a wide range of songs from the Colonial period through the present to depict political and social perspectives as represented in music • Explores numerous subtopics related to the songs • Engages and educates as it gives historical context and meaning to songs with which readers have long been familiar • Uses a research-based approach to explore the historical and cultural background behind America's hits
Description : How does museum location shape the interpretation of an art object by critics, curators, art historians, and others? To what extent is the value of a work of art determined by its location? Providing a close examination of individual works of American art in relation to gallery and museum location, this anthology presents case studies of paintings, sculpture, photographs, and other media that explore these questions about the relationship between location and the prescribed meaning of art. It takes an alternate perspective in that it provides in-depth analysis of works of art that are less well known than the usual American art suspects, and in locations outside of art museums in major urban cultural centers. By doing so, the contributors to this volume reveal that such a shift in focus yields an expanded and more complex understanding of American art. Close examinations are given to works located in small and mid-sized art museums throughout the United States, museums that generally do not benefit from the resources afforded by more powerful cultural establishments such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Works of art located at institutions other than art museums are also examined. Although the book primarily focuses on paintings, other media created from the Colonial Period to the present are considered, including material culture and craft. The volume takes an inclusive approach to American art by featuring works created by a diverse group of artists from canonical to lesser-known ones, and provides new insights by highlighting the regional and the local.
Description : For more than a century the American farm, factory and frontier provided opportunities for physical workers to display their skill, win a bet, brag or perhaps just have some fun. Competitions that emphasized useful skills, like plowing, corn-husking, rock drilling, typesetting, and tree cutting, were common in the antebellum and post-Civil War periods, often drawing large crowds and the attention of sporting journals. For many years conventional American sports occurred in the workplace. This may help explain why the nicknames of so many prominent collegiate or professional sporting teams--Cornhuskers, Lumberjacks, Miners, Cowboys, Packers and Boilermakers--are also the occupations of 19th century worker-athletes. By examining the American experience with competitions among workers, this book provides a new understanding of the interrelated nature of occupation and leisure.
Description : First performed in 1964, Amiri Baraka's play about a charged encounter between a black man and a white woman still has the power to shock. The play, steeped in the racial issues of its time, continues to speak to racial violence and inequality today. This volume offers strategies for guiding students through this short but challenging text. Part 1, "Materials," provides resources for biographical information, critical and literary backgrounds, and the play's early production history. The essays of part 2, "Approaches," address viewing and staging Dutchman theatrically in class. They help instructors ground the play artistically in the black arts movement, the beat generation, the theater of the absurd, pop music, and the blues. Background on civil rights, black power movements, the history of slavery, and Jim Crow laws helps contextualize the play politically and historically.
Description : Learn how real events evolved into folk stories and legends, developed into traditional folk ballads, and ultimately evolved into print formats, and been adapted to today's teen interests.