Sonny's Blues Topics for Further Study
by James Baldwin

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Read about the development of bebop jazz music in the 1940s. Who were some of the important figures? How was bebop different from traditional jazz? Why was it controversial?

How were black people treated in Northern cities in the 1940s and 1950s? How did daily life in the North differ from daily life in the South for a working-class black family? Was Sonny's brother, with his middle-class life, an exception?

Investigate the role of the church in Harlem today. What services does the church provide? How do the roles of religious institutions in neighborhoods like Harlem differ from their roles in other parts of the city?