Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Kenneth Chamberlain. Amadou Diallo. John Crawford.
These African-American men–each killed by police or other authority figures–are the subjects of a powerful multi-movement choral work by Atlanta-based composer Joel Thompson titled “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” followed by Glory from the motion picture “Selma” arr. by Eugene Rogers. The piece was premiered by the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club in 2015 under the direction of Eugene Rogers, director of choirs and professor of conducting at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
The story of this collaboration and a powerful performance of the piece by the Men’s Glee Club, along with their moving rendition of John Legend’s song Glory, from the Selma motion picture soundtrack, are presented in the Michigan Media documentary film, Love, Life, and Loss.
This discussion guide is meant to complement this film and help educators engage with the complex and important issues of race and police violence. The guide includes tips on how to prepare for and address controversial issues in the university classroom, discussion protocols and questions to process the film, as well as a supplementary reading with guiding questions to provide important background knowledge. The guide is flexible and can be adapted to fit different schedules.