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The Whole Staircase: Films Celebrating 400 Years of African American History & Culture

America's Blues  (2015)

Professor Chris Killmer selected America's Blues for inclusion in The Whole Staircase Film Series. When asked why he selected this film to screen, Professor Killmer explained, "I’ve been a musician for 25 years and, in my mind, the blues have been in many ways the ‘master key’ of most genres of American popular music (including jazz, country, R&B, rock & roll, and even hip-hop) for over a century. This documentary digs into the origins and history of the blues, as well as its influence on other musical genres and on culture in general. In telling this story, it also connects to many important aspects of African American history and shows how blues artists were able to take a lot of the pain and hardship they experienced and turn those experiences and emotions into a unique and powerful musical genre that’s had a huge impact on the whole world."

Chris Killmer received his Master's degree from the University of Tennessee and joined the SJR State faculty in 2007.

Screening Dates and Locations

Screening Presented by Professor Chris Killmer

Date: October 16, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

Location: Palatka Campus, Building A, Valhalla Hall


Date: October 24, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Location: Palatka Campus Library

Members of the Race Issues Study Circle will be in attendance. 

All are welcome to this free event!

Film Information: America's Blues

"America's Blues is a feature length documentary that explores the tremendous impact that Blues Music has had on our society, popular culture, and the entertainment industry. This film not only honors Blues Music and Musicians by showing how it has impacted every form of popular American Music, but also the influence it has had on art, literature, film, fashion, sexuality and more. Through interviews with musicians, historians, professionals and activists, a compelling story of the music's significant historical contribution unfolds. If music were a color, it would be Blue!" - vendor's summary

Run time: 86 minutes

This documentary is not rated.

Closed captioning and transcript available.

Licensed through Films on Demand (title 111622).

Resources for Further Exploration - America's Blues

Online Resources

'America's Blues' doc takes on the meanings of the music

The Mississippi Blues Trail

Living Blues Magazine

Books and eBooks at the SJR State Library
Books may be checked out by community patrons as well as SJR State students faculty and staff. If a title is located at another campus, the book may be sent to another campus upon request.

Please note: eBooks are only available to current SJR State students, faculty, and staff with a MySJRstate login.

Celebration • Education • Reflection

H.R.1242/Public Law 115-102, the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act, establishes 2019 as a year of "commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English colonies, at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619."  The commemoration is intended “to recognize and highlight the resilience and contributions of African-Americans since 1619; to acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States; and to educate the public about the arrival of Africans in the United States; and the contributions of African-Americans to the United States.” In recognition of this commemoration and with the Act serving as a guide, the SJR State Library has organized a year-long series of events that will provide educational experiences and resources to students and the community that celebrate the history and culture of African Americans.

Site created and maintained by Dr. Christina Will. Pages will be added and maintained throughout 2019.
Maintenance will cease at the end of 2019 but this site will remain accessible.

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St. Johns River State College, an equal access institution, prohibits discrimination in its employment, programs, activities, policies and procedures based on race, sex, gender, gender identity, age, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic information or veteran status. Questions pertaining to education equity, equal access or equal opportunity should be addressed to the College Title IX Coordinator/Equity Officer: Charles Romer, Room A0173, 5001 St. Johns Avenue, Palatka, FL 32177; (386) 312-4074; Anonymous reporting is available at Inquiries/complaints can be filed with the Title IX Coordinator/Equity Officer online, in person, via mail, via email or with the US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Atlanta Office, 61 Forsyth St. SW Suite 19T10, Atlanta, GA 30303-8927. | St. Johns River State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Questions about the accreditation of St. Johns River State College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, by calling 404-679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (