MID-WEEK BLOG POST!

Announcements:  1.)If you were in the Willie Cole group on the blog, please post about him and his POSSIBLE relationship to Hurston on our blog by Wednesday (tomorrow) at 10 pm.  Add images or links to make your post interesting.  2.)If you were in the group that read the article about “Sweat” this weekend, please comment on at least two of the Willie Cole posts any time before coming to class on Thursday.  Feel free to use the knowledge that you gained from reading the “Sweat” article!!!! In fact, it’d be great if you actually quote from that article.  Can you???? 3.)If you’re in neither one of those groups, just read the blog!  No new reading or film viewing for Thursday.  3.)You’ll be assigned to peer review possible arguments about Hurston, Rev. J.M. Gates, Willie Cole, or King Vidor works soon and this last blog post will help! 

 

From _Jonah’s Gourd Vine_ to “Sweat” (Reflecting on Hurston’s Works)

A)Maud, Ineitha, Mason, Lauren, Sam, Ty:  Please post here on the blog by Monday night at 10 pm after finishing Hurston’s novel and short story — and also reading/skimming the following article about Jonah’s Gourd Vine entitled “The Worm Against the Word.”  Your post only needs to be two paragraphs in length — though it can be slightly longer, if you want.  Choose to discuss ONE of the following five things in your post:  1.)The part(s) of the article you find most compelling, 2.)The part(s) of the article you find least convincing or hardest to understand, 3.)Anything you’d add to the article to make it even better, 4.)The main argument of the article, 5.)Things we’ve already said in class that relate to the article 

Link to “The Worm Against the Word” article: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2901188

B)Grace, BJ, Carly, Patrick, Eliza, Alyssa:  No need to post on the blog by Monday night at 10 pm but please do comment on two of your classmates’s Jonah’s Gourd Vine posts any time before coming to class on Tuesday.  Please be sure to also read the following very short article about visual artist Willie Cole and to watch the following 8 minute video about visual artist Willie Cole. By taking a few notes, be ready to tell us in class ONE way or more that you believe that his iron and ironing board artwork tangentially relates to Hurston’s story entitled “Sweat.”  

 

1.)A Short Article About Some of Visual Artist Willie Cole’s Work With Objects Like the Ironing Board:

Harvard exhibit reveals ‘the spirit’ within everyday objects

2.)An 8 Minute Video About Newark, NJ Visual Artist Willie Cole (who uses the iron and ironing board in his work!)

C)Everyone else in the class: No need to post on the blog by Monday night at 10 pm.  And no need to comment on the blog either!  Instead, just finish Hurston’s novel and read Hurston’s short story.  Then, read/skim the following article about Sweat” entitled “The God in the Snake…”  In your notebook or on your computer, take some notes about the following  so that you’re ready to speak when and if called upon in class: 1.)The part(s) of the article you find most compelling, 2.)The part(s) of the article you find least convincing or hardest to understand, 3.)Anything you’d add to the article to make it even better, 4.)The main argument of the article, 5.)Things we’ve already said in class that relate to the article 

Link to “The God in the Snake…” article — https://www.jstor.org/stable/26467997

TEMPTATION AND REDEMPTION OF RELIGION (posted by Maya Middlebrooks)

“Death’s Black Train” captures the temptation and redemption of religion, Christianity to be specific. It is the idea that the inevitable is coming, death, and one should be “saved” before then. The author says, “a message from the high. You better set your house in order for you must surely die”. In other words, one must seek redemption from the Lord to be saved during death, to go to heaven. He then goes on to say, “your idle thoughts and wicked deeds will stop you at the judgement bar”. The judgement bar is the representation of judgement day when the Lord will decide if one shall go to heaven or hell. The thoughts and deeds are all of the tempting situations that happened in someone’s life that would prevent them from heaven if they do not seek redemption. He uses the metaphor of a train. He states repeatedly that the black train is coming, death.

 

[PHOTOGRAPH OF TWO RAILROAD TRACKS — AT A CROSSING/OVERLAPPING — SHOULD BE INSERTED HERE.]

 

This idea of a train is shown in God’s Trombones’ ‘Seven Negro Sermons Verse’. It starts off by reiterating that death is inevitable and if one believes in god and do right by him, then they shall enter the gates of heaven, they shall go home. Johnson, “the first black professor at New York University”(God’s Trombone), stated that the train sermon pictured both God and the devil running trains, one went to heaven and one went to hell. This further elaborate Rev J.M Gates sound, that if one chooses a road of temptation, they choose the train to hell, and if one chooses a road of redemption and saving, they choose a train to heaven.

God’s Trombones Are Singing (by Grace Braver)

_God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse_ was published in 1927, written by James Weldon Johnson. It is a book of poems modeled after traditional religious oratory. Mr. Johnson saw an absence of folklore studies and was inspired to create this collection of poems to offer what he calls a “folk sermon” or otherwise phrased as a preserved document of African American religious oratory. What is unique to this writing by Mr. Johnson is the lack of misspellings and other tricks that are often employed in representing black vernacular speech. This book of poems really showcases just how the African American characters in King Vidor’s film HALLELUJAH were portrayed. In the film the characters were made to only speak in slang representing black vernacular speech. However, it did make me realize that when Zeke went by Zekiel his speech went from very broken to a less broken form. I believe the director may have wanted to show his character development with this minor change during the film.

[INSERTED PHOTO SHOULD BE HERE  — Front cover of God’s Trombones, written by Mr. Johnson.]     

[INSERTED PHOTO SHOULD BE HERE — Title page of God’s Trombones, written by James Weldon Johnson.]

I do believe this book of poems enhances my reading of “Death’s Black Train is Coming” as it provides more imagery to supplement just what this song is talking about. I also appreciate better how both the song and the poems that Mr. Johnson wrote do not include misspellings to perpetuate a preconceived notion of African Americans of this time period. When discussing the intersection of African Americans and religion there is some symbolism and imagery that resurfaces. A train is often viewed as taking people on their life’s journey from stop to stop (or as are commonly referred to as chapters today). The final destination for each person on the train is either Heaven or Hell. How the trombone is tied in is articulated will in this article. The “trombone” in the title of GOD’S TROMBONES is referring to the musical instrument often used in bands. The brass instrument has an incredible range in the sounds it can produce. This makes it quite effective in resembling the range of emotion humans can display. It also mimics the sound of the human voice in amplitude.

 

Welcome To The Course (It Is Time To Create Your First Blog Post!)

Good morning, all!  Your Teaching Apprentices (Iris P. and Jenna S.) and I are excited that you’ve decided to enroll in English 210: Religion in Black Film and Literature this fall 2020. You should have already watched one historic film and listened to one early sound recording.

Dr. Jon Breitenbucher, Director of Educational Technology here at the College of Wooster, will now show you how to 1.)create your first blog post and 2.)comment on at least two other blog posts.  You must create your first approximately two paragraph blog post in response to my prompt by tomorrow (Wednesday August 26) at 10 pm.  Give your post a clever title! You must also comment with approximately two sentences on at least two of your classmates’s blog posts by Thursday August 27 any time before our 9:45 am class begins. Choose to comment on whichever two posts you want!

FOUR PROMPTS FOR YOUR FIRST BLOG POST (complete *only* the ONE to which you’ve been assigned)

PROMPT 1)Romeo, Jackeb, Mason, Carly, Sam:  The first chapter of a book called _After Redemption: Jim Crow and the Transformation of African American Religion in the Delta, 1875-1915_ by John M. Giggie (a Professor of History at the University of Alabama) is called “Train Travel and the Black Religious Imagination.”  By Wednesday August 26 at 10 pm (tomorrow night!), please give this supplementary document a read/skim and let us know on the blog, in your very first post, how the document enhances or complicates your close reading of King Vidor’s film HALLELUJAH and/or Reverend J. M. Gates’s sound recording “Death’s Black Train is Coming.”  So that it is not boring to your classmates, your post must include an image or a link to something else you find relevant (i.e. music, another article, another film, something from another one of your classes, a theatre production, a review of the John M. Giggie book as whole, something else that John M. Giggie wrote, whatever).  This book chapter by John M. Giggie is both in your email inbox and on our Moodle page now.  The copy of it that I’ve provided is not the best copy (sorry!) but it should still be clear enough for you to read.  Remember that others in our class may not read this document at all — or will not have read it as carefully as you have:  So, explain as much you can in your blog post. Feel free to begin working on this blog post during class on Tuesday morning August 25, if you have time!

Last things:  a.) On Thursday morning, any time before logging in to class, be sure to offer an approximately 2 sentence comment on at least two of your classmates’s posts (you can add a question to a post, agree with a post and say exactly why, disagree with a post and say exactly why, or, comment to another commenter who has already said something about the post!). b.) Also, by Thursday morning, take a look at our English 210 course syllabus (it’ll be on Moodle by then).  Come to class with any questions about the syllabus.

PROMPT 2)Inethia, Grace, Lauren, Patrick, Eliza:  When discussing the train, African Americans, and religion, many people reference James Weldon Johnson’s text GOD’S TROMBONES.  By Wednesday August 26 at 10 pm (tomorrow night!), please give the two supplementary documents about it linked below a read/skim and let us know on the blog, in your very first post, how the two short documents (or anything else that you find about GOD’S TROMBONES) enhance or complicate your close reading of King Vidor’s film HALLELUJAH and/or Reverend J. M. Gates’s sound recording “Death’s Black Train is Coming.” So that it is not boring to your classmates, your post must include an image or a link to something else you find relevant (i.e. music, another article, another film, something from another one of your classes, a theatre production, whatever). Remember that others in our class may not read these short documents at all — or will not have read it as carefully as you have:  So, explain as much you can in your blog post. Feel free to begin working on this blog post during class on Tuesday morning August 25, if you have time!

Last things:  a.) On Thursday morning, any time before logging in to class, be sure to offer an approximately 2 sentence comment on at least two of your classmates’s posts (you can add a question to a post, agree with a post and say exactly why, disagree with a post and say exactly why, or, comment to another commenter who has already said something about the post!). b.) Also, by Thursday morning, take a look at our English 210 course syllabus (it’ll be on Moodle by then).  Come to class with any questions about the syllabus.

The two supplementary document links about GOD’S TROMBONES are here:

a.) https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/chattanooganow/art/story/2014/feb/06/gods-trombones-sunday-performance-recalls-seven/130866/

AND

b.) http://www.floridatheateronstage.com/reviews/preach-praise-for-return-of-m-ensembles-gods-trombones/

PROMPT 3)Jack, Hannah, BJ, Olivia, Maria, Alyssa, Ty:  Read the article called “Hallelujah!: Transformation in Film” by JH Howard that is now on our Moodle page. By Wednesday August 26 at 10 pm (tomorrow night!), please let us know on the blog, in your very first post, how the document enhances or complicate your close reading of King Vidor’s film HALLELUJAH and/or Reverend J. M. Gates’s sound recording “Death’s Black Train is Coming.” So that it is not boring to your classmates, your post must include an image or a link to something else you find relevant (i.e. music, another article, another film, something from another one of your classes, a theatre production, a review, something else that King Vidor produced, whatever). Remember that others in our class may not read this document at all — or will not have read it as carefully as you have:  So, explain as much you can in your blog post. Feel free to begin working on this blog post during class on Tuesday morning August 25, if you have time!

Last things:  a.) On Thursday morning, any time before logging in to class, be sure to offer an approximately 2 sentence comment on at least two of your classmates’s posts (you can add a question to a post, agree with a post and say exactly why, disagree with a post and say exactly why, or, comment to another commenter who has already said something about the post!). b.) Also, by Thursday morning, take a look at our English 210 course syllabus (it’ll be on Moodle by then).  Come to class with any questions about the syllabus.

PROMPT 4)Maud, Cole, Eli, Rekik:  Watch the following two videos and read the one review featuring Professor Lerone Martin of Washington University, St. Louis.  Among other things, he mentions Reverend J.M. Gates — who recorded “Death’s Black Train is Coming.” By Wednesday August 26 at 10 pm (tomorrow night!), please let us know on the blog, in your very first post, how the videos enhance or complicate your close reading of King Vidor’s film HALLELUJAH and/or Reverend J. M. Gates’s sound recording “Death’s Black Train is Coming.” So that it is not boring to your classmates, your post must include an image or a link to something else you find relevant (i.e. music, another article, another film, something from another one of your classes, a theatre production, another review, something else that Lerone Martin wrote, whatever). Remember that others in our class may not have viewed these videos or read this review — or will not have viewed/read them as carefully as you have:  So, explain as much you can in your blog post. Feel free to begin working on this blog post during class on Tuesday morning August 25, if you have time!

Last things:  a.) On Thursday morning, any time before logging in to class, be sure to offer an approximately 2 sentence comment on at least two of your classmates’s posts (you can add a question to a post, agree with a post and say exactly why, disagree with a post and say exactly why, or, comment to another commenter who has already said something about the post!). b.) Also, by Thursday morning, take a look at our English 210 course syllabus (it’ll be on Moodle by then).  Come to class with any questions about the syllabus.

Here are the videos and the review article featuring Professor Lerone Martin —

a.)Video 1 — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laVuQTFWBwQ

b.)VIdeo 2 — https://vimeo.com/419742601

c.)Review article — https://academic.oup.com/ahr/article/120/5/1918/2582066