Women and the Blues

A 12-piece primary source packet sets the tone for a study of the role women played in the origins, development, and impact of blues music. Legends like Bessie Smith, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Mamie Smith, and Ida Cox are featured, as are more contemporary performers Gladys Knight and Toni Braxton. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Set the stage with a video of Bessie Smith singing
  • Coordinate the lesson with the music and social studies departments
  • Use during March's Women's History Month
  • Have groups select one of the women featured to research and report on to the class
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires extra prep time to prepare materials
  • If class members have access to computers with internet, save printing cost and load the documents on classroom computers
  • The teaching guide includes discussion questions and suggested activities
  • None