African American watermen and women of the Chesapeake have a rich history and culture. Like many communities, they used music to enhance their environment and to improve their efficiency while working. Use these lesson starters to help elementary students examine how African American workers used music while catching and processing seafood during the19th and 20th centuries.
Select a topic below to find video clips, essential and guiding questions, learning extensions, and other student supports to use in your classroom.
Singing and making music to accompany work is a common practice that has been used by individuals and communities across the world. However, the musical choices and song selections are often unique to the specific cultural backgrounds of the laborers
For centuries, African Americans have created and innovated many musical expressions to reflect their artistic and cultural experiences. One of the most recognizable and enduring genres is gospel music. Due to the music’s popularity, by the mid-twentieth century, its practitioners moved beyond the walls of African American churches to perform on major stages, in movies, and in television shows.
This learning resource is a production of Maryland Public Television/Thinkport.