Based on the video above, Part 1 of Jazz, by Ken Burns, answer these questions.

1. What is one new or surprising thing you learned from the video? (A one sentence answer is fine.)

2. Prepare an essay describing the historical and cultural conditions and events that led to the development of jazz in New Orleans in the early 20th century (as depicted in the video). How did these conditions/events lead to the particular musical characteristics of jazz?

Your essay should be about one page in length, (including your short answer to question #1), and should use good English structure and correct spelling. The assignment is worth 10 points.

Here is the rubric I will use for grading:

Did the essay:

Answer the first question? 1 point

Describe the historical and cultural conditions and events that led to jazz? 4 points

Tell how these conditions/events led to the specific musical characteristics of jazz? 4 points

Correct spelling, punctuation, word usage, sentence structure. 1 point

Total points: 10


This video is from the longer series, JAZZ, done by Ken Burns.  The first episode, Gumbo, gives the background of jazz, and shows the cultural mix that existed in New Orleans that made the development of the music possible.  Although the music didn’t really develop until the beginning of the 20th century, the video begins before the Civil War, when the various cultures began to settle in New Orleans.  “Gumbo” is a thick soup containing a mix of various meats and seafoods, rice, and vegetables.  This is a metaphor for the mix of cultures that existed side by side in the city.

The video is 86 minutes long, and may take some time to load.  So wait, even if it takes several minutes, and even if it doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

To view the video, go directly to the library’s homepage, which is

Then click on the link Audio, Video, Image in the first column, which will bring you to another page where you can click directly on American History in Video.
At that point, you will need to login with your W number and PIN.

And here is the link to American History in Video that will allow you to login in remotely:

You  will then be required to login with your W number and PIN. You  can then search videos by title.

(I can provide login )