Women’s History Month: “Trapped in the Attic” – Lloyd H. Miller and Shamsi Ruhe honor Harriet Ann Jacobs


Throughout the month, Emily and I have been reading about women in history. Earlier this year, she was fascinated with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work to end segregation, and was especially excited to recount how Rosa Parks made history by refusing to let anyone bully her. In Emily’s words, “that is really cool!” I love when we share enlightened moments like this and am prompted to continue to find similar stories to share with her. Shortly after the excitement around Rosa Parks’ story, Em learned about Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and slavery. While reading about this period of time, we came across the brave tale of Harriet Ann Jacobs, an African-American woman and writer who sought to gain freedom and prevailed.

Jacobs’ autobiographical novel, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, chronicles her struggles as a slave, and how she gained autonomy through willpower. Though the specifics of her story, as described in her book, talk about the complex relationship between male slave owners and female slaves, Jacobs’ story also touches upon perseverance while also providing an opportunity to discuss race and gender issues.

Shamsi Ruhe, the bold, beautiful voice also featured on “Stand With Me” from Dean Jones’ album When The World Was New, brings this tale to life in a song by Lloyd H. Miller of The Deedle Deedle Dees. Today I am proud to premiere a song and video for “Trapped in the Attic” from Miller’s forthcoming album Sing-A-Long History Volume 1: Glory! Glory! Halleluah! which contains a collection of original and traditional songs about the Civil War Era. “Trapped in the Attic” highlights the fact that Jacobs spent 7 years in the cramped corners of an attic before she escaped and was ultimately set free.

Miller has done extensive research to make history accessible to kids through his music. Sing-A-Long History Volume 1 is follow up to S.S. Tales, Miller’s first solo release which highlights men and women who have made a historical impact on the world. This release will be the first album in Miller’s sing-along series. Stay tuned for additional coverage here on Kids Can Groove around the time of the album’s release in April.


Learn more about Lloyd H. Miller’s work at his official site, through Facebook and Twitter. 

Teachers and families can following along with the words in the lyric video below.

Continue learning about female heroes through a previously published Kids Can Groove post on Amelia Earhart, and listen to the song “8000 feet” by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band here. 

View This: “Seventeen Years (a cicada love song)” – Lloyd H. Miller

Lloyd Miller of The Deedle Deedle Dees released the first video from his upcoming solo album (set to be released in the fall).  “Seventeen Years (a cicada love song),” is an homage to the those interesting chirpers.  I particularly love the line “We’re not the kind of band that comes back once a year.  We’re the magic kind/ You have to wait a little bit longer to here/ So when we at last appear you’ll know it’s the big show/ One you might not see again.”

I happen to live with a bug lover who is going to be overjoyed with this video, although she might be disappointed when she realizes that they only come out every 17 years.  I may have to create one of those homemade cicada costumes from the video as a backup plan.

[Courtesy of Lloyd H Miller via YouTube]