February 6, 2013 - Happy Birthday, Bob Marley

February is “Black History Month.” It is still important to deliberately focus on the role played by women and “minority groups” in history, since much of the traditionally-told American and European history focuses on white men.

History classes also pay more attention to generals and presidents and kings instead of artists and scientists and musicians. We often learn the history of rulers and warriors rather than the history of those who made huge contributions to our everyday lives and culture.

Two days ago, it was Rosa Parks's birthday.  Today it's Bob Marley's birthday. Marley was born on this date in 1945, in a village called Nine Mile in Jamaica, and he grew up to become internationally known and loved for his ska, rocksteady, and especially reggae music.

In this video, Bob Marley's oldest son, Ziggy Marley, talks about “B is for Bob,” Marley's children's album. 

This blog post lists reggae albums for kids. 

By the way...

It's interesting to listen to the language used Jamaica. Long ago, the slaves who were brought to this Caribbean island spoke a wide variety of African languages. In order to communicate with each other, they all had to learn English. But English didn't have words for some of the plants, animals, foods, and other things in their environment, so the slaves used words borrowed from their African languages for those things. The resulting language is called a creole language. Note: Jamaican is not “more primitive” or “less grammatical” than other forms of English—but the vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar are different than those found in other English dialects.

Get a feel for Jamaican here.

Also on this date:

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