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The Music of New Orleans and How It Shaped Its Culture

Culture and the fundamentals of society have its roots in musical expression. Many of our traditions in the African-American community are formulated around music and the expression of music (i.e. dance). Music is also utilized as a communication device in the African-American community as well. This is especially true when it comes to the culture and society of New Orleans. Many specific customs are infused in the history and urban landscape of the city. This unit will give students a comparison of an urban environment that is rich in culture and diversity as their own but has a different, yet complex set of issues as well and how music is at the center of that environment. This unit will include the different genres of the New Orleans metropolitan area, the importance of African-American music and musicians in that area and how their music and sound has shaped not only their city’s culture but that of the country.
The purpose of this unit is to investigate and examine how music has shaped culture and society in New Orleans, specifically African-American culture. This unit was created for eleventh and twelfth students but can be used in all secondary social studies classes. This unit was created using the Pennsylvania State Standards for Reading and Writing in Social Studies.

Chanelle Harley
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