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Lesson

Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement
The Power of Protest: Songs of Struggle and Hope
Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement / The Power of Protest: Songs of Struggle and Hope

Music has been an important part of every social movement throughout history. During the Chicano movement, music was used in a wide variety of contexts (rallies, meetings, marches, picket lines, etc…). Protest songs, in particular, provided a way for people to express their struggles and motivated/inspired them to take a stand against the injustices that were happening all around them. These songs united people who were working towards a common goal, helping them to feel a little less alone. Within this lesson, students will engage with recordings of two well-known protest songs that were translated into Spanish and adapted to match events that were happening during the Chicano movement: "We Shall Overcome" (Nosotros venceremos) and "We Shall Not Be Moved" (No nos moverán).

Lesson Components & Learning Objectives

  1. We Shall Overcome/Nosotros venceremos

    • Explain how “Nosotros venceremos”/”We Shall Overcome” was translated adapted from a different context and became a powerful symbol of protest during the Chicano movement.
    • Approx. 30 minutes
  2. Students in the Chicano Movement

    • Explain how “No nos moverán”/”We Shall Not Be Moved” was translated and adapted from a different context and became a powerful symbol of protest during the Chicano movement.
    • Describe the contributions of young people (students) during the Chicano movement.
    • Demonstrate the musical and expressive qualities of an effective protest song.
    • 30–45 minutes
  3. Creating a Protest Playlist

    • Create their own annotated “protest” playlist and will evaluate their chosen songs’ effectiveness as protest songs.
    • Approx. 30 minutes

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Bibliography

Text

Azcona, E. C. (2005). On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Liner notes]. Washington DC: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Montoya, M. (2016). The Chicano movement for beginners. For Beginner Books.

Rosales, F. A. (1996). Chicano! The history of the Mexican American civil rights movement. Arte Publico Press.

Santelli, R. (2019). Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways collection [Liner notes]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Schippers, H. (2019). Connecting people, engaging communities. In The social power of music [Liner notes], p. 13–15. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Schippers, H., & Motley, S. L. (2019). Forward. In The social power of music [Liner notes], p. 8. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Seeger, A. (2019). Songs of struggle. In The social power of music [Liner notes], p. 16–19. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Spener, D. (2016). We shall not be moved/no nos moverán: Biography of a song of struggle. Temple University Press.

Zettler, J. (2009). Corridos of the Chicano movement [Liner notes]. Arhoolie Records.

Audio

The Freedom Singers. (2019). We shall overcome [Song]. On The social power of music[Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Mass Meeting Participants (1997). We shall overcome [Song]. On Voices of the civil rights movement: Black American freedom songs 1960–1966[Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Seeger, P. (2019). We shall overcome [Song]. On The Smithsonian Folkways collection: Pete Seeger [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

El Teatro Campesino. (1976). Nosotros venceremos [Song]. On Huelga en general! [Album]. Menyah Records.

Fuentes, R. (2009). Walk-out en Crystal City [Song]. On Corridos of the Chicano movement [Album]. Arhoolie Records.

La Rondalla Amerindia de Aztlán. (2005). No nos moverán [Song]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Seeger, P. (1980). We shall not be moved [Song]. On Singalong Sanders theater, 1980 [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Images

Lowe, E. (1966). César Chávez [Photograph]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Time Magazine, NPG.2010.10

Visual Dialogue (2019). The social power of music [Cover art]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC. Photograph by Hiroji Kubota, SFW40231

Karales, J. (1963). Singing “we shall overcome,” Sixteenth Street Baptist Church [Photograph]. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Estate of James H. Karales. Gift of Monica Karales and the Estate of James Karales, 2015.129.39

Davies, D. J. (n.d.). The Freedom Singers [Photograph]. In The best of Broadside 1962-1988 [Liner notes], 2000, p. 76. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC. Provided by the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution, SFW40130.

Davies, D. J. (1965). Fannie Lou Hamer [Photograph]. In Songs my mother taught me [Liner notes], 2015, p. 19. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC. Provided by the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution, SFW40216.

Grossman, S. (ca. 1946). Pete Seeger [Portrait]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Courtesy of the Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC, NPG.94.85.

Zill, B. (1970). Viva la causa! Nosotros venceremos! [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 1986.0231.138.

Lewis, J. (1966). El Teatro [Photograph]. In Songs of struggle and hope [Liner notes],2016, p. 20. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC., SFW40567

Fauntroy, W. (1963). We shall overcome [Photo deco]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 1963 08 28.

Rutledge, W. (1968). Student protest t-shirt [Silkscreen print on t-shirt]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 1985.0363.01.

Powers, M. J. (1968). Black panthers [Photograph]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores García, 2013.0222.21.

Torero, M. (1997). You are not a minority! [Offset lithograph on paper]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 2020.9.

Garza, L. C. (1968). Rally at Placita Park [Photograph]. In La Raza photograph collection (#1000). Courtesy of UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, Los Angeles, CA. Gift of Mario Acevedo Torero.

Rodriguez, G. (1974). Sal Castro [Gelatin silver print]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Acquisition made possible through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, NPG.2015.58.

LeGerrette, C. (ca. 1973). La Rondalla Amerindia de Aztlán [Photograph]. In Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Liner notes], 2005, p. 15. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC., SFW40516.

Wilton Assoc. (c. 1960). Sing out with Pete! [Cover art]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC. Photograph by David Gahr, Photograph by David Gahr, FW02455.

Davies, D. J. (1968). Peace march and rally, New York City: Crowd of protesters [Photograph negatives]. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., CFCH.DAVIE, File FP-DAVI-BWNE-0397A.

Communication Visual (2009). Classic protest songs from Smithsonian Folkways [Cover art]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC. Photograph by Diana Jo Davies, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution, SFW40197.