The Black Power Classroom: An Ethnomusicological Approach to Teaching African Heritage Awareness Through Music Education in Botswana and African America
Witzleben, John L
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The Black Power Classroom uses ethnomusicology to understand how culturally responsive music education is used to teach African American and Botswanan children their African heritage. I first interrogate the coloniality of minstrelsy and the distortion of Black America’s African heritage that warrants the need for African heritage to be taught to Black American children. I then overview the historical/contemporary agendas for Black education, and how music education fits into these agendas, by comparing those of African Americans to those of the “The State,” which operates as a colonial actor. I then analyze the use of culturally responsive instruction in a music program for African American fourth graders in Washington DC, drawing from Gaunt’s theory of kinetic orality. Finally, an analysis of how traditional music is used to teach cultural identity in Botswana elucidates the key components of a culturally responsive music education model that could be effective for African American students.