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RESPECT YOURSELF: THE STAX RECORDS STORY chronicles the birth of Stax Records, soul music, and the “Memphis sound.” During a time when the United States was segregated and the struggle to end racial discrimination and extend civil rights to African Americans was raging, Stax was racially integrated and eventually became one of the most successful black-owned companies in the nation. The label launched the career of soul greats Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MG’s, the Staple Singers, and others. Through classic performances and interviews with Stax artists, founder Jim Stewart, and many others associated with the record company, the film tells the story of America’s preeminent soul label.

Time Allotment:
Approximately five to six 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter:
Music, History, and Language Arts


Students will:

1. Listen to and analyze various musical clips to determine the attributes that make them blues, gospel, country, jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, or soul tunes.

2. Participate in class discussion activities about their impressions of soul music and the content of the program RESPECT YOURSELF: THE STAX RECORDS STORY.

3. Utilize critical viewing skills to analyze program content and complete the related viewing guide.

4. Conduct research using the Internet and primary sources to learn about the lives, careers, musical contributions, and social contributions of Stax recording artists.

5. Create multimedia presentations that illustrate what was learned from researching a selected Stax artist and provide a musical analysis of a sample of the artist’s performance.

6. Make a class presentation of their research and musical analysis.

Access to Internet and/or library resource materials
Access to multimedia software

Prep for Teachers:
Prior to teaching the lesson, record the broadcast of RESPECT YOURSELF: THE STAX RECORDS STORY (check local listings to determine if and when the program will air in your state), review the program for content, bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer, and download the necessary plug-ins. Print out and make copies of the related student handouts: Study Guide and Viewing Guide.

Bookmark the following sites:

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Stax Museum of American Soul Music: Soul Learning

Otis Redding

Isaac Hayes

Rufus Thomas

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: Inductees: The Staple Singers

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: Inductees: Booker T. & the MG’s

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: Inductees: Wilson Pickett

Luther Ingram

Johnnie Taylor

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: Inductees: Sam & Dave

Grove Music Online


Art Connections
Understands connections among the various art forms and other disciplines.

Understands the relationship between music and history and culture.

Historical Understanding
Understands the historical perspective.

United States History Understands the struggle for racial and gender equality and for the extension of civil liberties.

Language Arts

Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process. Gathers and uses information for research purposes.

Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Listening and Speaking
Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.

Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.

Working with Others
Contributes to the overall effort of a group.
Displays effective interpersonal communication skills.

Thinking and Reasoning
Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences.

This lesson was prepared by Lisa Prososki, an independent educational consultant and instructional design specialist who taught middle school and high school social studies, English, reading, and technology courses for 12 years.



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