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How Music Moved: The Genesis of Genres in Urban Centers

Nathan Trier

Contents of Curriculum Unit 13.02.11:

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Unit Objective

My curriculum unit, "How Music Moved: The Genesis of Genre in Urban Centers," examines how music has served as a catalyst for interactions between social groups, ranging from creative exploration and new styles of music to conflict and violence, in the northern Midwest, California, and New York City.

This will be part of the curriculum for High School in the Community's Music in America class. Music in America examines the history of popular music in America from the 1900's to today (focusing on the National Association for Music Education's National Standard #9: Understanding music in relation to history and culture.) Previously when I taught this class, I focused on the interaction of African-Americans and the dominant white culture. With this YNHTI unit, I will expand my class to include much more information on Latino music and cultural influences and also focus more on class, addressing the notion of migrants and immigrants seeking an entry-point to middle-class stability and also their music reflected those aspirations.

Since High School in the Community's curriculum centers around law and social justice, this unit will create a place for students to examine music from the perspectives of class, ethnicity, region, and history.

My unit will discuss the "home cities" of different music genres:

Chicago: Chicago blues
Los Angeles: West-Coast Swing
New York City: Puerto Rican traditional music and hip-hop

Furthermore, for each genre, students will learn about the migration and immigration patterns that served as catalysts for the new genre's emergence, focusing on (but not limited to) work and housing. Students will also learn about the class- and race-related issues regarding the music's acceptance by "mainstream" culture, including but not limited to:

- Chicago Blues will discuss the "Great Migration" of African-Americans out of the agrarian South and into the industrialized North (1910-1930) and how it led to the Chicago blues (1940-1950)
- West-Coast Swing will examine the influence of swing music in California, and its effects on the way Mexican immigrants ("pachucos" and "Zoot suiters") borrowed from African-American culture and interacted with white establishment (1940's)
- New York City will explore the role of traditional Puerto Rican music before World War II and its fusion with African-American traditions to create hip-hop

I hope to integrate into my curriculum first- and second-person accounts of interactions across boundaries of ethnicity, such as playing in integrated jazz bands and then-notorious "black and tan" clubs (which were among the first spaces for social mingling across racial boundaries).

This unit will make a point of drawing on students' experiences regarding racial and class interactions to draw parallels and form "big-picture" thinking about how ethnicities and classes have interacted throughout American history. High School in the Community is a very small school (approximately 300 students) whose student body is a mix of African-Americans, Latinos, and Caucasians, so students interact across lines of ethnicity, and to a lesser extent class, every day. Hopefully, this unit will encourage them to think about the ways in which music and popular culture more broadly have been critical sites for interaction for different groups at different historical moments. This would help to keep the focus on music as a site of cultural exchange for different groups.

Another way students will connect the curriculum to their own experiences is by drawing comparisons to the experiences of young people with their own experiences. In most cases, interethnic interactions were driven by young people, especially by people of high school-student age—particularly after World War II, when "being a teenager" gained special status, and teenagers gained disposable income and thus were marketed to (just as they are now). How young people of immigrant and migrant groups interacted with the established culture is an important aspect of studying the migrant experience.

This unit will also encourage students to examine the ways teenage (or youth) culture has changed over time (fashion, musical tastes) but in other ways remains constant (differentiating themselves from the previous generation, for example). This unit will describe certain genres' social contexts and encourage students to compare the history of interethnic interactions and collaborations with their own experience today. In my experience, it is not enough to teach music and music history just because "it's important and you should know about it."

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Chicago and the Blues: The Great Migration

Leaving the South Behind

Proceeding chronologically, this unit will start with The Great Migration, a period between 1910 and 1930 when a large number of African-Americans left agrarian jobs in the southern United States to pursue industrial work in the northern U.S., particularly in the mid-west.

This migration was driven by a desire commonly referred to as "bettering my condition" – in other words, seeking a better life not driven by just economic opportunity but also social equality.

African-Americans sought to head north to escape uneven economic situations, perpetuated by practices such as sharecropping and Jim Crow laws. Additionally, the north had a reputation as being free of prejudice, which undoubtedly was appealing to the victims of institutionalized discrimination.

African-Americans in the US referred to this combination of institutionalized and unofficial discrimination as the "Dixie Limit," a barrier that prevented African-Americans from gaining true economic independence and thus true equality.

Modern-day students will probably also be acquainted with such a concept, though probably not by that name. Students will be encouraged to brainstorm and articulate examples of formal and informal barriers that limit upward achievement for race, class, and gender.

Students will examine a number of primary sources that discuss factors driving the Great Migration, including:

- William Jones' (District Superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Alabama) list of what keep a prospective migrant in the South
- Black poet James Weldon Johnson's poem "O Southland!"
- Blues singer Bessie Smith's "Chicago-Bound Blues" (Smith herself left the south behind to move to Chicago)

It would be beneficial for students to compare the lyrics of songs about leaving the South (like "Chicago-Bound Blues" or "Detroit-Bound Blues") to letters written by people who had left the south looking for work. What sentiments do they have in common? What is different about what they express?

Students will also learn place of music in the South's daily work routine, including work songs as described in Levine's "Black Culture and Consciousness," as dictating the rhythm of manual labor "a series of spurts rather than by a steady daily grind." For example, workers laying railroad ties maintained a steady rhythm in their workflow by maintaining a steady rhythm sing the work song "Raise the Iron": Down the railroad, urn-huh Well, raise the iron, urn-huh Raise the iron, um-huh."

The song "Po Lazarus" on the soundtrack to the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?" provides an excellent example (as to many other recordings of work songs) in that the sound of tools being used provides a clearly audible steady beat.

Jazz musician Big Bill Broonzy explained the process: when he was employed as a laborer laying railroad ties in Mississippi between 1912 and 1915, a line worker who needed to take a break would signal the leader, who would "sing it to the boss." On the boss's approval, the leader would sing, "Everybody lay their bar down, it's one to go." When the worker returned, the leader would sing "All men to their places like horses in their traces" and thus resume their work.

Blues musician Muddy Waters recounted that a man would sing even to a mule if he were working alone.

Land of Hope: Chicago

Students will then examine the reality of African-American migrants to Chicago, focusing on primary sources:

-- Langston Hughes, in his autobiography: "South State Street was in its glory then, a teeming Negro street with crowded theaters, restaurants, and cabarets. And excitement from noon to noon. Midnight was like day. The street was full of workers and gamblers, prostitutes and pimps, church folks and sinners."
-- First-hand letters from recent migrants to Chicago, in particular:
- One recent arrival's recount of being able to address a white police officer directly
- Another recent arrival's description of being able to sit next to a white man in a train without remark

Although some letters expressed misfortune and regret, the balance of positive comments on the whole indicate that moving north was a positive experience for most African-American southerners.

Students will be challenged to speculate as to whether the articles are written with the goal of being honest or from a desire to impress (or placate) friends and family who remained behind in the south. Students will write a letter "back home" from the viewpoint of a recent migrant to Chicago, expressing:

- Why they left
- A description of the city when they arrived
- Their current situation
- Whether or not they would advise others to come up and why

Music in Chicago

Since this is, after all, a music class, students will spend time learning how the African-American migration to the north affected the ways in which African-Americans made music.

Jazz musicians had their own support network for new arrivals, including a cluster of recording companies in the 1920's. Episode 2 of Ken Burns' PBS documentary on jazz provides more information on the Great Migration.

Chicago also provided a place for socializing across racial lines: the black and tan clubs. Black and tan clubs provided places where whites and blacks could drink together and dance to music. These clubs are noteworthy because even though Chicago (and other northern cities like New York) the combination of alcohol, "exotic" jazz music, dancing, and interracial mingling gave black and tan clubs a somewhat notorious reputation.

The clubs also illustrate Chicago's complicated history with segregation. Although the city was much less segregated than cities in the South, the increasing African-American population and the return of war veterans (whose absences had created many of the jobs African-American migrants filled) led to racial tension and segregation in housing and some public areas. One such incident on a segregated beach led to the five-day long 1919 Chicago Riots.

Chicago blues

Southern migrants brought with them their music, a form of the blues now referred to as "delta blues" or "Mississippi blues" (many migrants brought their music in the literal sense – Chicago blues musicians Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Jimmy Reed all moved to Chicago from the Mississippi region). Alan Lomax did much work to document and catalog the different regional varieties of southern blues, and students will examine his work (the character of Alan Lomax also briefly makes an appearance in the movie Cadillac Records, which tells a dramatized version of Chess Records, a record label owned by Polish immigrants that did much to popularize and commercialize blues and other African-American music).

Once in Chicago, blues musicians ran through instruments through amplifiers and PA systems to be audible over raucous rent parties. This music was popularized and commercialized by record labels and sold to audiences—and took off in the UK, where it was consumed by teenagers who would later create rock and roll.

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California and Swing Music: LA and Zoot Suits

We can now move to examine an immigrant group on the West Coast of the U.S. during and after World War II. During the war, America's Bracero program actively recruited farm-workers from Mexico to fill the void left by the war effort (the Department of Labor would later denounce this program as "legalized slavery.)

California received the largest group of immigrants, particularly Los Angeles.

Many Mexican-Americans also served in World War II, and the G.I. Bill funded their plans for education and home ownership following the war, further bringing them into contact with Los Angeles' (mostly white) middle class.

There was also a large number of Filipinos migrating to the US, particularly California, during this time period. Filipinos occupied a somewhat different social place than Mexican immigrants, due to the fact that the Philippines was a U.S. colony. Thus Filipinos were U.S. nationals with passports, and immune to immigration quotes. However, they were prohibited from owning land or voting.

Although many Filipinos, like Mexicans, found agricultural work, a great many Filipinos also worked as domestic servants and were able to attend classes in their free time (or participate in more recreational pursuits, such as swing dancing).

The participation of young immigrants in "swing culture" in California during World War II provides a wealth of ways to examine the intersection of ethnicities, class, and music. These first-generation teenagers adopted the fashions of African-American Zoot suits, popularized by Cab Calloway, and listened to and played swing music alongside African-Americans. Mexican-American musicians, such as Don Tosti, performed a mix of jazz music and traditional Mexican swing numbers, and began to alter swing music to reflect their own culture and experiences.

Additionally, these "Zoot-suiters" were of high school age, providing plenty of room for our students to draw comparison to their own lives.

Students will start this unit by comparing and contrasting the experiences of Mexican immigrants with that of Filipino migrants. How was their interaction with American swing music different and the same? How were their interactions with Los Angeles different the same?

Students will also compare and contrast the immigration of Mexicans to America with the migration of Southern African-Americans to the north. What experiences in motivations do these two groups have in common? What aspects of their experiences are different?

This era also saw Zoot suiters and teenagers—of several ethnicities—pitted against American servicemen in a series of violent conflicts known as "the Zoot Suit Riots." Similarly, the Watsonville Riots in 1930 also pitted Filipinos against white Californians. Students will examine first- and second-person accounts of each riot, comparing and contrasting to find similarities between the two episodes of violence.

Mexican-American Music in California

Examining the experience of Mexican-American youths provides a helpful example for understanding the way teenage Americans made and consumed music in during the Second World War.

During World War II, the most popular place to enjoy music was in ballrooms and dancehalls – music and dancing were very much social occasions, and there were a variety of styles available for dancing, ranging from genteel styles such as the foxtrot and waltz to more modern and racier styles, such as the Lindy Hop and swing-dancing.

Many young Mexican-Americans immigrants in California inhabited a world between their traditional music and the lure of modern swing and jazz music. Macias writes: "Even as young pachucos danced to that most modern of music, jazz, and listened to the latest hit records on the jukebox, they still continued earlier Mexican traditions, such as playing the acoustic guitar and composing corridos for the purposes of song and gang gossip."

Many immigrants continued the tradition of writing corridos (which Griffith describes as "tragic folk songs" that "describe a historical event") for friends had been killed by the police. In this unit, students will write a new corrido or turn an existing song into a corridor, and find examples similar in tone from their own music collection.

Mexican-Americans, Filipinos, and African-American Culture


Young immigrants and migrants also inhabited an interesting social place "between" African-Americans and white America. Macias describes light-skinned black women passing as Mexicans to play in bands (thus bypassing hostility to interracial bands). Likewise, an African-American singer, Lee "Bats" Brown, changed his name to "Ricardo Gonzalez" to escape the discrimination he faced as an African-American singer. Mexicans legally were categorized as "white" as a result of the 1848 Treaty of the Guadalupe-Hidalgo. However, they were not treated white in terms of housing or other social interactions and still faced discrimination.


The most flamboyant display of the intersection of Mexican-American culture and African-American was that of the "pachucos," Mexican-American youths who emulated the zoot suits, music, and slang of African-American swing music (such as Cab Calloway).

Here, the class will compare and differentiate cross-cultural exchange to slumming and appropriation. The class will come up with examples of each and discuss motivations for each category.

Pachucos' fondness for the zoot suit and its associated mannerisms were a conscious rejection of the dominant, white-focused paradigm, says Macias. African-American zoot-suiters referred to each other as "man" when many whites still addressed African-American men as "boy" to assert racist dominance. The zoot suit itself was a display of excess, with sweeping jacket-tails and large cuffs that consumed a lot of fabric amidst World War II rationing.

Some pachucos and their female counterparts, pachucas, went a step further and pushed the boundaries of traditional gender styles. The long-waisted zoot suit arguably resembled a short skirt, and it wasn't uncommon for male pachucos to wear earrings, says Macias, in addition to necklaces and rings. Some pachucas "cross-dressed" by wearing zoot suits.

(On a side note, students may be surprised to learn that some of the visual identifiers they identify with African-American gangs, such as the teardrop tattoo, started with pachucas (Ramirez). In fact, the existence of Mexican-American "street gangs" precedes that of other ethnicities, at least in LA. Author Chester Himes stated that during that era, "Negro youths in Los Angeles County are not organized into gangs, nor do they belong to the Mexican pachuco gangs." Anthony Ortega described Mexican-American gangs as being divided by neighborhoods. " If you were from Watts, you'd better watch it if you go to East L.A., and vice versa.")

For students, clothing choice often signifies association with certain subcultures, and these subcultures are usually unified in choice in music. As an assignment, students will examine clothing choices and what allegiance they indicate – starting with their own clothing choices for formal events, casual events, or "hitting the scene." Then the discussion would be expanded to other musical genres – how does a rock and roll fan usually dress? Country? Students will then read about a recent controversy surrounding celebrity Rachel Ray wearing a kefiyeh in an otherwise innocuous Dunkin' Donuts advertisement and discuss how clothing choice can also carry (perceived) political implications. Students will also discuss how a recent immigrant may choose to dress – which style/genre would they align themselves with and why?

Likewise, students will be asked how clothing styles help mark someone as a foreigner or immigrant today.

Indeed, pachucos' fashion choices caused much conflict white Angelinos, especially from American servicemen, who often viewed the extravagant zoot suit as indulgent during wartime, and thus unpatriotic. Pachucos arguably started trouble as well, by indulging in practices such as "walk[ing] the boardwalk with arms interlocked, four-wide, forcing the locals to disperse before them."

Zoot Suit Riots

This conflict escalated into a series of violent confrontations between servicemen and minorities in 1943, referred to as "The Zoot Suit Riots." The riots were not isolated incidents of spontaneous violence, but prompted by teenagers and servicemen deliberately looking for conflict. Tovares' movie "Zoot Suit Riots" shows an interview with a white teenage girl who says that, ""L.A. was like a war zone, and the pachucos had just taken over." This young woman says she drove service members from the El Toro military base into Los Angeles to fight pachucos as "part of the war effort.

The Zoot Suit Riots were later memorialized in 1997 in the song "Zoot Suit Riot," by a retro-swing band called "The Cherry Poppin' Daddies." As a class activity, students will read the lyrics to this song and note references to the historical event. They will then analyze the song, analyze the author's opinion on the riots and why.

The Zoot Suit Riots attracted national attention: Eleanor Roosevelt held a press conference the day after the riots, calling them "race riots" and saying they were the reaction of a history of discrimination against Mexicans in California. At the press conference she said, point-blank: "We have a race problem."

Shortly thereafter, an editorial in the Los Angeles Times argued that the first lady "ignore[d] history, fact, and happy tradition," for "we [Los Angeles] have the largest Mexican colony in the United States and we enjoy fraternizing with them.... We like Mexicans and we think they like us." Students will read and analyze both texts, citing rhetorical devices and comparing their discussion of race in the 1940's to today's discussion on race.

Swing Music and Race

Students will also gain a solid grounding in the nature of swing music. They will listen swing music of Duke Ellington to the brass band music that preceded it (like John Phillips Sousa) and identify similarities (instrumentation, arrangements, harmonies) and differences (improvisation, "swung" rhythms, audience).

Students will also contrast the intricate arrangements of East Coast Swing, typified by Duke Ellington, with the more blues-based structure of Kansas City Swing, led by Count Basie. They will also listen for similarities in the Cherry-Poppin' Daddies recording of "Zoot Suit Riot" and note what conventions the band uses to evoke swing music.

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Nueva York – From Island to Island: Puerto Rican music in NYC in the 20th Century

Turn of the Century through World War I

In 1898, the island of Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States in the aftermath of the Spanish-American war; migration from Puerto Rico to New York City didn't pick up significantly until after World War II. An effort to kick start the island's economy via hotel construction during World War II, part of "Operation Bootstrap," displaced Puerto Ricans agricultural workers for the sake of land development. But the service-sector jobs created by the economic initiative were not great enough in number to create a job for every agricultural worker. Therefore, immigration out of PR and into the U.S. for the sake of finding work was encouraged, which brought roughly 120,000 new inhabitants form Puerto Rico to New York City from 1940 to 1970.

Much like the Great Migration of African-Americans, there was a similar exodus of Puerto Rican agricultural workers ("jíbaros") from the fields to a more urban setting – specifically, New York City. The migration largely coincided with an influx of African-Americans, placing the two ethnicities in competition for labor and housing but also providing fertile ground for new forms of music, including types of doo-wop, jazz and the creation of hip-hop.

As a class activity, students may compare and contrast what they know of the Great Migration to that of Puerto Rican agricultural workers travelling to New York City.

Some Puerto Rican musicians found themselves much further than New York City: Noted African-American bandleader, James Reese Europe, visited Puerto Rico in 1917 to recruit musicians for his commercial band. It is possible Europe became acquainted with Puerto Rican musicians via the recordings of Manuel Tizol's (uncle of Duke Ellington trombonist Juan Tizol) and Rafael Hernández's bands released on the Victor Talking Machine Company, which also released Europe's recordings. Europe must have also heard of the intense formal training that many Puerto Rican musicians received, including solid grounding in reading music and understanding music theory.

When Reese joined the military during World War I, he negotiated with his superiors to enroll Puerto Rican musicians in his band, the "Harlem Hellfighters Band." Glasser describes the goal of this band as "an attempt to change society through the universalization of ethnic cultural norms." The Hellfighters Band toured France, performing for Allied soldiers but also French civilians. While in France, they recorded selections from their repertoire, which was a mix of French music, American military marches, and African-American ragtime. Their recording of ragtime are credited with launching the French craze for ragtime music, which later led to the French style of jazz known as "Hot jazz," led my guitarist Django Reinhart.

African-Americans and Puerto Ricans alike during this period saw acceptance of their musical talent as a precursor to social acceptance. However, these Puerto Rican musicians were making a living playing a music other than their own. However, it wouldn't take long for composers to bring traditional Puerto Rican music to prominence (although the definition of "tradition Puerto Rican" music can get complicated).

Traditional—or Traditional?—Music after World War I

The jíbaros' life was put to musical form by Rafael Hernández in 1929 in the song "Lamento Borincano" Hernández was living in Spanish Harlem at the time and wrote this song to describe the jíbaros in positive terms but to also to portray their difficult lives. The song was immensely popular and has been recorded many times, recently by singer Marc Anthony. Glasser describes this song as a version of the Depression-era staple, "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" for Puerto Ricans.

As a class activity, students will compare and contrast the lyrics of "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime" to the (translated) lyrics of "Lamento Borincano," and identify which themes are specific to culture/ethnicity and which are universal. Students will also create works that mimic the themes of Lamento Borincano, but in other media – short stories, song lyrics, video, etc.

Hernández musically documented Puerto Rican sentiment again in 1935, with a bolero entitled "Precioso." The lyrics included barely veiled references to US colonialism. The song starts as a tribute to the precious Caribbean island, citing its beautiful women, flowers, and noting that this island has the nobility of Spain and the fierceness of its Native taíno inhabitants. However, the final verse references a "tyrant" that treats precious "with black hatred." Later versions pulled back from this stance by changing the word "tyrant" to "destiny" or "fate." Here, students will compare the lyrics of Precioso to lyrics from the Great Migration about how the South. How are these migrants' homelands portrayed, using what descriptors?

Puerto Rico had good outlets for distributing music, but poor recording facilities – thus further encouraging Puerto Rican musicians to come to New York City to record – somewhat ironically, considering they were leaving their homeland to record traditional music for audiences back home.

As with African-American "race records," Puerto Ricans' traditional "ethnic" music (as close as a definition could be settled on) were documented and sold to recent immigrants with the real intent of selling them (much more expensive) phonographs to play them on. Indeed, "off-the-boat" musicians were sought after for their "authenticity," often signed and managed by first- or second-generation musicians. Here, students will speculate as to what characteristics made them more "authentic" and dissect the notion of "authenticity" and what it means.

Puerto Rico boasted a great variety of song types, including seis, aguinaldo, bomba, and plena. Ironically, given that at the time "Puerto Rican" was a catch-all term describing any given Latino in New York City, native Puerto Rican music was often overlooked in favor of Cuban music. In fact, Cuban music and Puerto Rican music often intermingled with each other, to the point that some styles of Cuban music were adopted into Puerto Rican music and vice versa. Keil says "People can play and dance to very similar music forms but still maintain a socially antagonistic role." A fruitful class discussion would be for students to examine whether or not this is true – can someone enjoy the music of a certain culture/ethnicity and still be biased against its performers? If so, can music really be a force for social change?

Not surprisingly, during the 1920's and 1930's there were many disagreements in the Puerto Rican community – in New York and also in Puerto Rico proper – about what constituted "authentic" Puerto Rican music.

Puerto Rican Composers

Examining the careers of two prominent Puerto Rican composers may illuminate how native Puerto Rican music traveled and intermingled with other regions.

Augusto Coen was raised in Puerto Rico, the son of a Jewish father and Afro-Puerto Rican mother. He moved to New York in the 1920's, working as a postal clerk and, since Latin music was almost nonexistent in New York in that area, playing with African-American jazz bands. However, hearing that there was a shortage of trained musicians in Puerto Rico (and those that were there were making good money), Coen moved back to Puerto Rico. There, Coen led a school band, formed a society for composers and music publishers, and wrote articles about native Puerto Rican customs and music, including plenas, danzas, and religious ceremonies.

Rafael Hernández, mentioned elsewhere, was a Puerto Rican native who played in James Reese Europe's "Harlem Hellfighters" military band. He later moved to Mexico and wrote the two famous songs "Lamento Borincano" and also "Preciosa." He made his living in Mexico, continuing his formal musical training at the National Music Conservatory, writing music for movies, popular music such as boleros, rumbas, cha-chas, corridos, and also and writing classical music based off of plenas. Rafaél Hernandez, along with Pedro Flores, put "intensely nationalistic" lyrics about Puerto Rico – to commercial Cuban forms – to be sold to Puerto Ricans.

Puerto Rican Music After World War II:, Noyuricans, Funk, and Hip-Hop

Although hip-hop may be thought of an African-American art form, there are strong arguments that it came from a cross-pollination and hybridizing of similar African-American and Puerto Rican cultural elements. This synthesis was accommodated by the geographical proximity of Puerto Rican communities to African-American communities in post-war New York City.

In many cases, Puerto Rican neighborhoods were nestled right next to African-American neighborhoods. In the case of the South Bronx (arguably the birthplace of hip-hop), African-Americans and Puerto Rican families were intermingled. As neighborhood resident, MC, DJ, and producer KMX-Assault described it, "You lived next door, you shared the same cockroaches."

The two groups not only lived side-by-side, but in some cases fought for social change side by side: In the 1960's and 1970's, Puerto Ricans and African-Americans worked together in the Black Power Movement. The Puerto Rican Young Lords Party was an offshoot modeled on the Black Panthers.

Although Puerto Ricans are described as having weaved in and out of popular music for decades, the first possible Puerto Rican/African-American hybrid was the jazz subgenre known as "boogaloo" (or bugalú). This genre, led by Mongo Santamaria and also Herbie Hancock, included elements of mambo and rock and roll – "a genuine reflection of 1960's music on young latins." (Willie Colón, who would later have a prominent career as a salsa musician, recorded an early boogaloo track called "Boogaloo Blues.")

In the 1970's and 1980's, the South Bronx witnessed massive decrease in jobs, residents, and housing options (roughly 10.5% overall, as much as 50% in some sections), caused in part by the development of the Cross-Bronx Expressway. The demographic population changed dramatically also. In 1970, 87% of the white population in the South Bronx moved out of the area. By 1980, blacks and Hispanics comprised 91% of the population.

This musical cross-pollination, first established in boogaloo, re-emerged in the 1970's via DJ's selections to lay the groundwork for what would eventually become hip-hop. DJ's Afrika Bambaataa and Charlie Chase (of the Cold Crush Brothers) slipped funky Latin music into their DJ sets. Bambaataa later said that the "Latin-tinged funk" was an essential element in his selection of "breaks" (short one- or two-bar drum solos), which would later form the basis of hip-hop. Jimmy Castor's track "It's Just Begun," which was later sampled extensively in hip-hop tracks, featured driving funk basslines and prominent use of the timbale percussion instrument.

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Final Project

For a final project, students will create a musical family tree, tracing their families' migration as far back as they can, noting what regions (of the U.S. or the world) their relatives came from. A key component will be for students to discover and document or deduce what music their relatives listened to, based on time and location.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan #1

Objective: Students will be able to create a "musical family tree" that traces their family back at least three generations and includes information on their geographical area and what music they may have listened to.

Lesson Plan #2

Objective: Students will take the role of a recent African-American migrant to Chicago and write a letter to their family at home detailing their experiences.

Lesson Plan #3

Objective: Students will be able to explain how clothing choices signify affiliation with certain subculture (musical or otherwise), and sketch and label an outfit that shows identification with a certain genre. Other students will see if they can identify the subculture based on the clothing choices.

Lesson Plan #4

Students will examine a Mexican corrido and compare it to other songs and poetry that pay tribute to the deceased. Students will compose their own (from their own viewpoint, from that of a fictional character, or by taking an existing song in a genre they are already familiar with and turning it into a corrido.)

Lesson Plan #5

Students will analyze a corrido and compare it to the lyrics of a popular swing piece from the era. Who are the songs' respective audiences? What purpose does each song serve?

Lesson Plan #6

Students will analyze the lyrics of the Cherry-Poppin' Daddies' "Zoot Suit Riot" and look at the ways in which modern-day pop culture reinvents or romanticizes the historic past. How does this modern version represent the riot? What is left out in the Cherry Poppin' Daddies' rendition? How does this offer a different narrative about the past?

Lesson Plan #7

Students read Eleanor Roosevelt's editorial on the Zoot Suit Riots and note her rhetorical devices – was she correct? More importantly, has anything changed today? Students will then ask the same questions regarding the Los Angeles Times' response to Roosevelt.

Lesson Plan #8

My unit will have students reflect on what determines a region's characteristic "sound" and determine if their region (New Haven) has a specific "sound" like other urban centers do.

Lesson Plan #9

As a final project, students will forecast future migration patterns and speculate as to how these trends could change or create future genres of music.

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Levine, Lawrence W.. Black culture and black consciousness: Afro-American folk thought from slavery to freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Macias, Anthony F. Mexican American mojo: popular music, dance, and urban culture in Los Angeles, 1935-1968. Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.

Maram, Linda. Creating masculinity in Los Angeles's Little Manila: working-class Filipinos and popular culture, 1920s-1950s. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Montes, Agustín. Mambo montage the Latinization of New York. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

Quirino, Richie C.. Pinoy jazz traditions. Pasig City, Philippines: Published and exclusively distributed by Anvil, 2004.

Quirino, Richie C.. Contemporary jazz in the Philippines: 1970 to the year 2010. Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Anvil, 2011.

Ramirez, Catherine. "Crimes of Fashion: The Pachuca and Female Style Politics." Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 2 (2002): 1-35.

Rivera, Raquel Z.. New York Ricans from the hip hop zone. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Torres, Andres. Between Melting Pot and Mosaic: African Americans and Puerto Ricans in the New York Political Economy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.

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Listening List

Blind Arthur Blake: Detroit-Bound Blues

Cab Calloway: Minnie the Moocher

Cherry-Poppin' Daddies: Zoot Suit Riot

Willie Colón: Boogaloo Blues

Count Basie: Jumpin' at the Woodside

Duke Ellington: Take the 'A' Train

Grandmaster Caz: South Bronx Subway Rap

Bessie Smith: Chicago-Bound Blues

George Thoroughgood: Bad to the Bone

Muddy Waters: Mannish Boy

Additional Resources:

Cadillac Records. Dir. Andrew Lack. Perf. Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Cedric the Entertainer. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2009. DVD.

The Devil's Music: 1920's Jazz. Directed by Maria Agui Carter and Calvin A. Lindsay Jr. Videocassette.

Zoot Suit. Directed by Luis Valdez, produced by Kenneth Brecher, Peter Burnell, Gordon Davidson, Phil Esparza, William P. Wingate. Universal Pictures. Videocassette.

"Video: Great Migration Factors , Watch Slavery by Another Name Online , PBS Video." Watch PBS Online , PBS Video. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2013. <http://video.pbs.org/video/2178377916>.

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