Work Songs from Reconstruction to Today
Prompt: Work Songs have a historical context as uplifting, informative and a little acerbic. As a natural offshoot of Secular Rhymes and Music, Work Songs still have a place in modern day music. The Reconstruction Era highlighted the newly dubbed Freedman’s struggle to make a life outside of enslavement, sometimes with dire consequences, i.e., Sharecropping, Work Camps, Lynching, Intra-racial divides, social levels, Jim Crow violence and laws. The struggles of African Americans showed great promise and resilience as we can see from the different towns that were built and subsequentially destroyed, for example, Tulsa, Rosewood, Seneca Village, etc. In this essay you will explore how Work Songs were first used during the Reconstruction Era, the messages that they gave to America as a whole, and how they are still inspiring Artists today. When writing, think of how the Reconstruction Era was a pivotal point in American history, the different types of literature that came about from 1875 to 1877, as well as the type of writers that were stimulated by the texts. Look at the different genres that use Work Songs as the basis for their music and the texts you have read. Any and all critical issues may be discussed as examples for both the time period and the music.