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  Understanding Significant Figures: Singer Celia Cruz

  Courtesy of Florida Internationl Library - Diaz-Ayala Collection
  Courtesy of Florida Internationl Library - Diaz-Ayala Collection

Lesson Five: Understanding significant figures: Celia Cruz


• Viewing Celia Cruz on Smithsonian Website
• Reading and discussing her comments
• Reviewing her life and her importance


• bata
• timbale
• bata cubana
• rumba
• danzon


1. Begin by having students explore the SI Website.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History website on Celia Cruz

2. Divide into groups:
1. Her life—significant events, world events, and how they relate to her music.
2. Her music—influences, most famous recordings, partners,
3. Her dressing room—How did her history and her life contribute to her costume? What does her sense of costume portray?

3. Have each group be prepared to share what they have learned with the others.

4. Read the oral history (portions if time is short) aloud, having students take turns.

  Understanding Significant Figures: Singer, Celia Cruz

 Oral History Interview
  Courtesy of Florida Internationl Library - Diaz-Ayala Collection

5. Discuss:
What does Ms. Cruz mean when she talks about having respect for her audience? (Page 4)
What were her relationships with other Latin musicians?
What effect did events in Cuba have on her career? (Combine this information with the information in lesson 2—Music and Politics)
Discuss costume and performance - how do other musicians use costume effectively or ineffectively?

There are two lesson plans on the Celia Cruz site in addition under Resources.




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The Standards 
Son Clave Lounge
NMAH - Oral Histories
Resources for Teachers
Celia Cruz Interview


Authors: Laura Jones, NBCT; Eliana Marcenaro, Language Arts Teacher.

This project has received support from the Latino Initiatives Pool distributed by the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives.


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