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The Blues

July 8-14, 2018 | Santa Fe, NM

This week we reflect on the blues in American culture and how a global musical movement had its origin in the oppression of the African-American people. In seminar, we begin with Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address” and a section from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Thereafter, we focus on Du Bois’ The Souls of the Black Folk. We consider Du Bois’ account of the problem of the color line, African-American suffering, and “double-consciousness;” his view of liberal education; and his philosophical reading of African-American “sorrow songs.” In language, we read poetry by the first African-American Pulitzer winner, Gwendolyn Brooks, and James Baldwin’s short story, “Sonny’s Blues.” In music, we explore Murray’s Stomping the Blues, which traces the roots of American jazz to the improvised affirmations of the blues musician. Murray will serve as a guide for our examination of blues artists ranging from Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker to Louis Jordan, James Brown, and Ray Charles.

Learn more about The Blues session in this post on The Chalkboard.

SF Summer Academy 2017 The Blues

Classes and Readings


Lincoln, “Second Inaugural Address”

Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, excerpt

Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, excerpts


Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues”


Murray, Stomping the Blues, excerpts

Example Workshops

Archery, yoga, science experiments

Example activities

Visit Ghost Ranch and attend a performance at the Santa Fe Opera

Summer Academy Sessions

Summer Academy in Santa Fe

The community formed among students is a natural extension of the friendships and ideas shared in the classroom. To further nurture a sense of community, Summer Academy students participate in non-academic workshops such as archery, yoga, and cooking. Off campus excursions will include a trip to Ghost Ranch and a performance at the Santa Fe Opera.