To conclude the semester, I wanted to find the messiest postwar site on campus and share it with students enrolled in the Bebop to Hip Hop: Young America and Music class. By messy, I mean a spot where we could see the enormous progress made in this country since the Second World War amid ongoing challenges. Sorta of the proverbial two steps forward and a step back, but progress nonetheless. It’s something worth acknowledging as we share this time together. It’s a privilege, in fact.
Most of the students joined me at Bryant Denny today. We even got a chance to run through the famous tunnel through which our national championship winning football team and coaches run.
But before we ran, I asked the students to end the semester where we started: thinking of something they wanted to put in their rearview mirror (remember, the rearview mix tape list on an earlier blog post?).
I also wanted them to think of something in their future. Indeed, the postwar period gave us “the teenager,” or an individual who could be distinguished from his or her parents owing to their style of dress and the music to which they listen. Youth culture is still alive and well in this country and worldwide. I want them to honor this reality by thinking of how they plan to accomplish their goals. The entire exercise was admittedly corny, but I am all for corny.
Aside from running through the tunnel like our beloved football team and coaches, the highlights of our visit for me were:
- being in the recruiting room. Just knowing that various players forever changed their lives and that of their families by being in that room and making a decision to play ball at Alabama struck me hard.
- running through the tunnel with the students (actually some of them were too cool and walked).
- hearing the students say “oooh” when Josh, our tour guide, showed us the current locker for Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts.
- I also enjoyed watching Anthony Lipscomb, one of the student leaders in this course, pretend to lead a press conference in the press room.
Among the questions his classmates asked him were ones related to how they planned to study for the final. Some of them did just that after we left the stadium. They headed to Maxwell Hall. A class that has my heart no matter the hurdles before me in teaching a course filled with challenges as our musical tastes were that varied. Here’s to grading more than 30 A papers, I hope. Roll Tide!
PS Thank you Maggie and Josh for setting up this visit!
PSS Thanks to the Swag store for a great design on the postwar tshirt. The vinyl record in the center was awesome.