You have a choice for this assignment:
--Choice 1: Watch the Cab Calloway movie listed below and write a 1-2
page paper following the directions. 10 points.
--Choice 2: Watch the Zoot Suit Movie—the link is not available yet
but will appear prominently as soon as I get the link---and write a 1-2
page paper using the questions listed under the Zoot Suit section of
this sheet. You need only choose one question. 10 points.
--Choice 3: Watch both movies, write a 1-2 page paper on one for 10
points, and a 1 page paper on the other for 3 extra credit points.
Watch the film online and write a 2 page paper, typed, double-spaced,
12 pttype.If you have questions, please email me, I will be checking
my email regularly.
Both of these movies concern the swing jazz youth culture of the
1930s and 1940s.
Watch these first, clips from the time period that reflect the youth
culture in different ways for different groups
Clip one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahoJReiCaPk
Clip two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_ENjos_PpE
Clip three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEp1-oo9u98
The music of the movie, Zoot Suit, is from the 1940s, the music of the
Mexican-American swing band leader
Movie : Cab Calloway, Sketches from the PBS American Masters series.
This is NOT a history documentary; it is a well done biography
on big band leader Cab Calloway. For your paper, you want to consider
how watching this video helps you understand the United States
during the 1930s and 1940s. Write your essay answering ONE of the
1. What could Cab Calloway’s success tell us about the racial
atmosphere of the United States in the 1930s and 1940s?
2. Some credit Calloway as a pioneer who helped pave the way
for future black entertainers; others criticize him for such things as
his long time performance at a whites-only venue, the Cotton Club.
Based on the information from the film, what do you think?
3. How did Cab Calloway both contribute to and reflect
American culture during this time period? How could considering
Calloway’s life and career help us to understand US history? You don’t
have to agree in your paper.
MOVIE: Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez—link will be provided as soon as
available, within about a week. If you select this movie, I suggest that
you at least look at the PBS website to get some background on the
This is a movie about real historic events in Los Angeles during World
War II, using real court transcripts and portraying some real
characters—but it is an entertainment movie, a movie of a play by
Luis Valdez, who was active in the United Farmworkers in the 1960s
and 1970s as well as the general Chicano Movement of that period. He
is still alive and still active, he founded El TeatroCampesino, you may
find out more at their website
Here are some questions:
1. The alleged “Zoot Suit Crime Wave” and Zoot Suit Riots
happened in the middle of World War II—what do you think they had
to do with the war? Why do you think they happened when they did?
2. How did the media shape what the public knew about both
the Sleepy Lagoon case and the Zoot Suit Riots?
Web site: The Zoot Suit Riots from PBS American Experience series—If
you like, you may write a 1-2 page paper for extra credit, 3 points.
(see following) THERE ARE 6 EXTRA CREDIT POINTS ALLOWED FOR
THIS COURSE, SO DON’T DO MORE EXTRA CREDIT ASSIGNMENTS
THERE ARE NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWERS. I AM LOOKING FOR
THOUGHTFUL SHORT ESSAYS, SOMETHING THAT SHOWS THAT YOU
SPENT SOME TIME THINKING ABOUT THESE FILMS AND HOW THEY
RELATE TO U.S. HISTORY AND CULTURE. YOU ARE BEING ASKED TO
INCLUDE YOUR OPINIONS, BUT JUST A TIP—YOUR WRITING WILL
ALWAYS BE STRONGER AND MORE AUTHORITATIVE IF YOU DO NOT
WRITE IN THE FIRST PERSON
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