Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Episode 566 (3-1-21): Exploring Water in U.S. Civil Rights History - Series Overview

Click to listen to episode (4:19)

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 2-27-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 1, 2021.

MUSIC – ~15 sec – instrumental

That’s part of “Wade in the Water,” arranged and performed by Torrin Hallett, a graduate student at Lamont School of Music in Denver.  The song is an African American spiritual dating back to the time of slavery in the United States and connected to the history of the Underground Railroad and efforts by slaves to escape.

This week, Virginia Water Radio embarks on a new, multi-episode endeavor: exploring connections of water to the history of civil rights in the United States.  When completed, the series of episodes will be posted together as a thematic package available online at virginiawaterradio.org.  This week’s overview episode provides an introduction to the topic of civil rights and to the kinds of water connections the series will explore.

The Georgetown University Law Library describes civil rights history as, quote, “the history of various movements by citizens in the United States to gain political and social freedom and equality.”  The Library’s Web site called “A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States” identifies civil rights movements for Black people, women, the LGBTQ community, the disabled, and immigrants and refugees.  A similar Web site at the Howard University Law School Library also includes indigenous peoples.

The Georgetown Law Library defines civil rights as those rights derived by being a legal member of a given political state.  Georgetown identifies the following as key civil rights in the United States: protection from discrimination, free speech, due process, equal protection of the laws, and the right against self-incrimination.

This Water Radio series will explore how water has been part of the history of Americans seeking, acquiring, or maintaining civil rights.  The episodes will include three main topic areas: 1) water in metaphors, symbolism, and other cultural references; 2) access to, and interactions with, water; and 3) the roles of rivers and other water places.

For this series, I hope to find and present information that’s interesting and valuable for Virginia citizens.  I invite you to have a listen to what gets discovered and to let me know what you think of it.

Thanks to Torrin Hallett for this week’s music, and we close with the final 35 seconds of his arrangement of “Wade in the Water.”

MUSIC – ~ 33 sec – instrumental


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The “Wade in the Water” version heard in this episode is copyright 2021 by Torrin Hallett, used with permission.  Torrin is a 2018 graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, and a 2020 graduate in Horn Performance from Manhattan School of Music in New York.  As of 2020-21, he is a performance certificate candidate at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.  More information about Torrin is available online at https://www.facebook.com/torrin.hallett.  Thanks very much to Torrin for creating this arrangement especially for Virginia Water Radio.

Following are other music pieces composed by Torrin Hallett for Virginia Water Radio, with episodes featuring the music.
“A Little Fright Music” – used in Episode 548, 10-26-20, on water-related passages in fiction and non-fiction, for Halloween.

“Beetle Ballet” – used in Episode 525, 5-18-20, on aquatic beetles.
“Chesapeake Bay Ballad” – used most recently in Episode 565, 2-22-21, on winter birds in the Chesapeake Bay area.
“Corona Cue” – used in Episode 517, 3-23-20, on the coronavirus pandemic.
“Geese Piece” – used most recently in Episode 440, 10-1-18, on E-bird.
“Ice Dance” – used in Episode 556, 12-21-20, on how organisms survive freezing temperatures.
“Lizard Lied” – used in Episode 514, 3-2-20, on lizards.
“New Year’s Water” – used in Episode 349, 1-2-17, on the New Year.
“Rain Refrain” – used most recently in Episode 559, 1-11-21, on record rainfall in 2020.
“Spider Strike” – used in Episode 523, 5-4-20, on fishing spiders.
“Tropical Tantrum” – used most recently in Episode 489, 9-9-19, on storm surge and Hurricane Dorian. “Tundra Swan Song – used in Episode 554, 12-7-20, on Tundra Swans.
“Turkey Tune” – used in Episode 343, 11-21-16, on the Wild Turkey.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.


First page of the original version of the U.S. Constitution, on display at the National Archives.  Image from the U.S. National Archives, “The Constitution of the United States,” online at https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution 


LaNika Barnes, “The Psychological Impact of Jim Crow and H2O (Water)”, Teachers in the Movement blog, October 22, 2019, online at https://teachersinthemovement.com/wade-in-the-water-the-psychological-impact-of-jim-crow-and-h20-water/.

Kenyatta D. Berry, “Singing in Slavery: Songs of Survival, Songs of Freedom,” PBS “Mercy Street Revealed Blog,” 1/23/17, online at http://www.pbs.org/mercy-street/blogs/mercy-street-revealed/songs-of-survival-and-songs-of-freedom-during-slavery/.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), “The Civil Rights Movement in America,” online at https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zcpcwmn/revision/1.

Georgetown Law Library, “A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States,” online at https://guides.ll.georgetown.edu/civilrights.

Howard University Law Library, “A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States,” online at https://library.law.howard.edu/civilrightshistory/intro.

National Park Service, “Underground Railroad,” online at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/undergroundrailroad/index.htm.

NPR and Smithsonian Institution, “Wade in the Water” (26-part series produced in 1994 on the history of American gospel music), online at https://www.npr.org/series/726103231/wade-in-the-water.

Tyler Parry, “The Role of Water in African American History,” Black Perspectives blog (African American Intellectual History Society), May 4, 2018, online at https://www.aaihs.org/the-role-of-water-in-african-american-history/. 

PBS (Public Broadcasting System), “American Experience/Soundtrack for a Revolution,” online at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/soundtrack-lyrics/.

Smithsonian Folkways, “Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs 1960-1966,” online at https://folkways.si.edu/voices-of-the-civil-rights-movement-black-american-freedom-songs-1960-1966/african-american-music-documentary-struggle-protest/album/smithsonian.

University of Maryland School of Law/Thurgood Marshall Law Library, “Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights,” online at https://law.umaryland.libguides.com/commission_civil_rights.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, online at https://www.usccr.gov/.

U.S. House of Representatives, “Constitutional Amendments and Major Civil Rights Acts of Congress Referenced in Black Americans in Congress,” online at https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/Historical-Data/Constitutional-Amendments-and-Legislation/.

U.S. National Archives, “The Constitution of the United States,” online at https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “History” subject category.

This episode is part of the series Exploring Water in U.S. Civil Rights History.  As of August 23, 2021, other episodes is the series are as follows:

Episode 591, 8-23-21: Water Symbolism in African American Civil Rights History

Following are links to some previous episodes on the history of African Americans in Virginia.

Episode 459, 2-11-19 – on Abraham Lincoln’s arrival in Richmond at the end of the Civil War.
Episode 128, 9-17-12
– on Chesapeake Bay Menhaden fishing crews and music.
Episode 458, 2-4-19
– on Nonesuch and Rocketts Landing in Richmond. 

Following is a link to a previous episode on Virginia’s indigenous peoples.

Episode 364, 12-12-16 – on Werowocomoco.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs 

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2017 English SOLs 

Reading Theme
5.4, 6.5, 7.4, 8.4, 8.5, 9.3, 9.4, 10.3, 10.4, 11.4 – symbols, imagery, figurative language, and other literary devices.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Civics Theme
3.12 – importance of government in community, Virginia, and the United States.
3.13 – people of America’s diversity of ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, under a republican form of government with respect for individual rights and freedoms.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.1 – impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.7 – Civil War issues and events, including the role of Virginia and the role of various ethnic groups.
VS.8 – Reconstruction era in Virginia, including “Jim Crow” issues and industrialization.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia. 

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.9 – causes, events, and effects of the Civil War.

United States History: 1865-to-Present Course
USII.3 – effects of Reconstruction on American life.
USII.4 – developments and changes in the period 1877 to early 1900s.
USII.6 – social, economic, and technological changes from the 1890s to 1945.
USII.8 – economic, social, and political transformation of the United States and the world after World War II.
USII.9 – domestic and international issues during the second half of the 20th Century and the early 21st Century.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.2 – foundations, purposes, and components of the U.S. Constitution.
CE.3 – citizenship rights, duties, and responsibilities.
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.8 – government at the local level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.6 – major events in Virginia and the United States in the first half of the 19th Century.
VUS.7 – knowledge of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
VUS.13 – changes in the United States in the second half of the 20th Century.
VUS.14 – political and social conditions in the 21st Century.

Government Course
GOVT.4 – purposes, principles, and structure of the U.S. Constitution.
GOVT.5 – federal system of government in the United States.
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.11 – civil liberties and civil rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20
– on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.