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Break Beat Scholars

Break Beat Scholars is a Saturday academy for ninth graders that focuses on cultural identity in history. “Break beat” is a term made popular by hip hop practitioners in reference to the instrumental portion of a song (usually on LP) that accounts for only a few seconds of the total track time but is extended and explored as its own sound. Similarly, break beat scholars will focus on portions of history, typically overlooked or ignored, then study and expound on their meaning. Furthermore, the break beat scholar breaks from the well-worn path of historical discourse to explore contributions from Carter G. Woodson and, locally, Herman Dreer. We challenge students to incorporate what they’ve learned into spoken-word poems and short historical fiction for the education of the community.

Sessions begin October 20, 2012, and conclude January 26, 2013. On lecture-workshop days, the program begins at 1pm and ends at 5pm. The lectures will feature a deejay onstage to provide audio support with instrumentals and songs that help the speaker make key points. This is followed by creative writing workshops in which students will receive instruction on spoken-word poetry and short fiction. On workshop-only days, the program will begin at 1 pm and end at 3pm. In January, students will refine their work and practice their presentation in preparation for the culminating event on February 2, which will be coordinated, hosted, and performed by the teen participants of the Break Beat Scholars program.

For More Information About The Program Schedule - Click Here

 To register for Break Beat Scholars, please call (314)361-9017 or email


After listening to lectures from some of the most engaging college professors, students will have an opportunity to participate in two of three creative writing workshops: VerbQuake Youth Poetry SLAM, Corner Pocket Short Fiction, and Corner Pocket History in 16 Bars.  All workshops are designed for students to produce content based on an aspect of history that they learned during the program.

  • VerbQuake will prepare students to write spoken-word poems for the purpose of performing before an audience. All students will be able to participate in the VerbQuake poetry workshops. Participation in this workshop is limited to 12-13 people.
  • Corner Pocket Short Fiction will teach students how to write historical fiction. Participation in the workshop is limited to 10 people.
  • Corner Pocket History in 16 Bars allows the novice or experienced rapper to pen a rap verse of typical length based on the biography of a person or history of a place. Participation in this workshop is limited to 15 people.
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