Tuesday, December 7, 2021    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM  This event is FREE and open to the public

"Follow Me Down: A Postscript" features Georgetown's Dr. Benjamin J. Harbert and Angola Museum's Dr. Marianne Fisher-Giorlando. They will be speaking on Louisiana prison music.

Port Allen- Please join the West Baton Rouge Museum on Tuesday, December 7 at Noon for a lunchtime lecture accompanying the exhibit, Music Behind the Gates. The museum is pleased to welcome Dr. Benjamin J. Harbert and Dr. Marianne Fisher-Giorlando to discuss Louisiana prison music. This program is being offered in conjunction with the current exhibit, Music Behind the Gates.

In this talk, Georgetown ethnomusicologist Benjamin J. Harbert will present from his forthcoming book on the history of music at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. After completing a feature-length documentary film Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians (2012) shown in the exhibit, Harbert continued to collect oral histories and scour the prison newsmagazine, The Angolite, and local newspapers for the many ways that music was part of a dynamically shifting institution. The remarkable cases of jazz, country, R&B and gospel performance show how music was a part of overcoming the pressures of the institution by providing ways of collaborating with each other, maintaining sanity, giving back to the community, voicing protest, and enabling unlikely collaborations with administrators and security staff. In a prison historically marked by austerity and violence, music has been an indispensable resource. Profiles of three musicians and musical examples will provide a deep listening into the experiences of incarceration.

Ben Harbert joined the music faculty at Georgetown University after receiving his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. His Ph.D. research was on music in three Louisiana prisons. His current research interests also include documentary film and post humanism. Harbert has been a teaching fellow at University of California, Los Angeles and a lecturer at Pomona College as well as a resident artist at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. Before returning to academia, he directed the guitar, percussion and music theory programs at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music.

Angola Museum Historian, Marianne Fisher-Giorlando will further elaborate on her work with Harbert in researching this project.

Dr. Marianne Fisher-Giorlando retired in 2012. As Professor Emerita of Criminal Justice, Grambling State University, she was responsible for the department's corrections' courses for twenty-seven years.  Dr. Fisher-Giorlando has been a member of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola Museum Foundation Board since 1998 when it opened.  She has served in various capacities on that board and is presently the Chair of the Education committee for which she has written grants for the museum’s biannual symposiums.  She also conducts the background research for the staff of the award winning prison magazine, The Angolite.  Fisher-Giorlando has conducted research, published papers, and given presentations about the history of women in the Louisiana State Penitentiary from 1835 to 1961 when the women prisoners left Angola to move to St. Gabriel.  She and Kerry Myers, editor of The Angolite, published a series of three articles about the history of the women in the Louisiana State Penitentiary:  "Bad Girls, Convict Women," in The Angolite Magazine.

The West Baton Rouge Museum is located at 845 N. Jefferson Avenue in Port Allen. For more information, call (225)-336-2422 x200 and visit www.westbatonrougemuseum.org or facebook/TheWBRM.

Event Date: 


West Baton Rouge Museum
845 N Jefferson Ave
70767 Port Allen , LA