Monday, January 23, 2012

Introduction to US History to 1877, International Studies


ToI basically introduced the class to American studies through deconstructing the lyrics to Bob Marley's, "Redemption Song," as performed by Lauren Hill and Ziggy Marley.


Lyrics:

Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fulfill the Book.

Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs.

(Guitar break)

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fulfill the book.
Won't you have to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs -
All I ever had:
Redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.
  


Lauryn's freestyle lyrics:

Lauryn:
Yo, If they can stop this fruit
They would pop this route
Chop this fruit
Treat us like a prostitute
Knock this youth
See me in my cocky suit
God's recruit
From fallin even God's salute
Tribal truth
Ja people can't be mute
Share my youth to Babylon can't regroup
Sing, to Babylon can't regroup
Sing, to Babylon can't regroup

Historical Topics Covered
  • Atlantic Slave Trade
    • Banking and insurance industry
    • Humans as capital assets
  • de las Casas
  • Enslavement of the Indians
    • Brutal treatement
    • Civilizing mission
    • Christian mission
  • Synchretic culture
    • Myal
    • Obeah
To Ilustrate Myal and Obeah, I will play "Mi Friends", the Victor Essiet version of Bob Marley's Duppy Conqueror. We mentioned Marcus Garvey, who Marley [loosely] quotes in the second verse: Emancipation yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

Interestingly a student from Ireland pointed out to me after class some similarities between Irish and Jamaican history, a point illustrated by the Chiefains' version of the same song, also played with Ziggy Marley.



Ireland and Jamaica were both British plantation colonies. Indeed, many scholars suggest that if you want to understand English attitudes toward Africans, look at English attitudes toward the Irish, during British conquest of that island.










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