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Over the years, protest songs have served as a means to combat social ills. These songs cover a wide array of topics, including but not limited to the following: racism, sexism, poverty, imperialism, environmental degradation, war, globalization, and homophobia. In 2005, hip-hop artist Kanye West released the single “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” to bring attention to the issue of conflict diamonds. In this lesson, students research and analyze contemporary and historic protest songs and then as a class catalog their findings in a wiki.This lesson works well with a unit focusing on a piece of literature in which a character(s) actively fights for social, political, or economic justice. For example, this lesson can build on a discussion of the issues that Atticus Finch contends with in To Kill a Mockingbird.
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