Friday, March 26, 2010

Post #3

Read Larry Neal's manifesto, "The Black Arts Movement." How would you describe the kind of writing Neal calls for? How does he see the arts in relation to political struggle and as a part of a movement?

Added bonus: this manifesto was published in the Summer of 1968. Do a little research on the events of that year. What was going on that might have shaped Neal's ideas?

Related announcement: We'll be talking about the Black Power movement and its 'cultural wing' the Black Arts movement in the coming weeks. There's a great related event going on at LaGuardia the week after break, a chance to hear from someone who was there. If you can go, please post your thoughts for extra credit.

Here's the information, thanks to Prof. Victor Rosa:

The Black Literature Series Committee of the English Department is honored to present activist, law professor, and memoirist Kathleen Cleaver, who will speak at the Little Theater on April 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Professor Cleaver was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and served as communications secretary of the Black Panther Party. She has taught at Emory University, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yale University and Sarah Lawrence College. Awarded fellowships at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, she has completed a memoir, Memories of Love and War.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Announcement: Creative Writing Club and Read-a-Thon

The Creative Writing Club is looking for new members! We'll be meeting every Wednesday this semester from 2-4 in M137. If you're a poet, fiction writer, playwright, or if you just like to scribble and are looking to meet other folks and explore your creative side, come join us. We'll share work, write together, hold events, take trips, and whatever else you'd like to do.

Here is the website/blog for the club.

Also! On Thursday, April 8th, we'll be attending the college's student-faculty read-a-thon. We'll be talking in the upcoming weeks about poetry and its relationship to community. Here's a chance to see the talents of LaGuardia teachers and students in action. If you'd like to read an of your creative work (poetry, stories, plays and so forth), drop me a note in the comments or send me an email.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Your Second Blog Post: Essay #1 Pre-Writing

For Monday, finish reading the Reagon interview with the handout I gave you in class today. Also read Malcolm X's speech "What does Mississippi have to do with Harlem"?

To prepare for your first essay:

Choose one of the songs from the first part of your packet that deals with the Civil Rights Movement up to 1964 ("Strange Fruit," "Spiritual Trilogy Medley," "If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus," "Only a Pawn in Their Game," or "Mississippi Goddam.")

Listen to the song with the links posted below. If you want to poke around youtube a bit, listen to some other freedom songs of the Civil Rights movement. If you find a different one you want to use for your essay, drop me a note in the comments.

Once you've selected your song, describe your initial reaction to the song, why you're selecting it, and what more you still want to know.

Then choose one of the "secondary texts" we've read ("The Case Stated," "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," the interview with Bernice Johnson Reagon, and the Malcolm X speech, "What Does Mississippi Have to Do with Harlem?" that you think will shed light on your song. Describe the relationship between the context/argument of this essay and the song. What light does each shed on the other?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Your First Blog Post

Once you've set up your blog, write your first post. In it, talk a little about your own relationship to "art, politics, and protest." Some questions you might think about: What kinds of expression - music, writing, art, sports - mean the most to you and why? Have you ever been part of a social movement, protested for or against something, or created a political work of art? Have you had your view of the world changed by a song, poem, movie or some other creative work? What would you like to learn about in this class?

IMPORTANT: Leave the address of your blog as a comment so that you can be linked to your classmates.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Interesting work of Political Art by an Iraqi Visual Artist

Throughout the semester, I'll drop links and suggestions for interesting works of political art you might be interested in exploring for your final essay.

Here is a link to an interview with an Iraqi artist about his unique brand of political art. At the end of the interview, he has an interesting response to the quesiton, "Do you consider yourself a political artist?"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Song Links

As you select your song, try out these versions. You can find the lyrics in your course pack.

Here is Billie Holiday singing "Strange Fruit."

Here is Bernice Johnson Reagon, of the SNCC freedom singers, who is interviewed in our course pack, singing, "Come and Go with Me to that Land," (part of the spiritual trilogy with lyrics in your course pack.

Here are members of the SNCC freedom singers performing "If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus," in Chicago in 2007.

Here is Bob Dylan singing "Only a Pawn in their Game," at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963.

And here is Nina Simone singing "Mississippi Goddam"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Welcome to Art, Politics and Protest. On this blog you will find videos, audio files, discussion questions and more!

Soon, you'll see links to student blogs so you can read each other's work. You can also see links to blogs for other courses.