Ballad for Americans

Posted Apr 30, 2010 by Claudia Rhymes

After learning about the Great Depression and the New Deal as part of a Social Science unit, students will explore the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal One Program that operated from 1935-1943. The Federal Art Project (FAP) was one arm of the WPA and included the Theater Project called "Sing for Your Supper". The song Ballad for Americans (formerly Ballad for Uncle Sam) was written for this project. Students will watch and listen to Paul Robeson sing Ballad for Americans from an online video. They will read and discuss the historical references found in the lyrics in this work. The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence is one part of the song. Students will memorize the Preamble and choose their own music to use for a performance of the Preamble. Finally, students will create their own poster that mimics the artists of the WPA Federal Art Project using the theme "America".

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