This project is part of an AudiAnnotate lesson plan that uses the audio recording “‘Criminal Syndicalism’ case, McComb, Mississippi,” from the Harry Ransom Center’s John Beecher Sound Recordings Collection. This project page exists as a sample project to facilitate understanding of what a collaborative classroom project could look like.

In this example, layer titles represent annotation categories. Annotation categories are groups of annotations that relate to particular characteristics of the audio recording. These categories are reflected in the layer title. For example, the layer with the layer tite “Environment_Kylie” includes annotations in the “Environment” category (described below). The use of an underscore keeps the layer titles sortable. Adding a name to the layer indicates who created the annotations.

Classrooom Suggestion: In the lesson, students will work collaboratively to select categories for annotation, and will each contribute annotations in their group work. In this example, we chose to annotate in the following categories:

  • Environment: Environmental sounds, which could be any noise in the recording (e.g., cars horn, footsteps, noise from the recording device)
  • External References: References to other events/people (e.g., rally, bombing)
  • Speakers: Named and unnamed speakers
  • Transcription: Selected sentences transcribed from the audio recording
  • Topics: Thematic tags or phrases based on the conversations and events in the recording

Content Warning: In this recording, a racial slur is used at 16:06 by a student quoting the language said to them by a police officer while in jail. There is also explicit language used at 15:49, 16:30, and 16:39 by students quoting white police officers. Racial slurs are time-stamped below, in the layer titled “Content_Warning.”

Annotations by Kylie Warkentin and Bethany Radcliff

Time Annotation Layer
9:35 Willie - one of the arrested students External_References_Bethany
8:30 reference to the court case/date External_References_Bethany
16:10 three police officers/jailers - Bagwell, Bates, Owen External_References_Bethany
16:06 - 16:07 [Content Warning] Racial Slur Content_Warning
15:49 - 15:51 [Content Warning] Explicit language Content_Warning
16:29 - 16:31 [Content Warning] Explicit language Content_Warning
16:38 - 16:40 [Content Warning] Explicit language Content_Warning
5:11 people walking in? Environment_Bethany
5:19 coughing Environment_Bethany
5:22 chairs moving, scraping on floor Environment_Bethany
5:33 chairs moving, scraping on floor Environment_Bethany
5:37 people entering room? Environment_Bethany
8:59 papers rustling Environment_Bethany
9:10 microphone noises Environment_Bethany
5:53 more people entering the room? Environment_Bethany
9:04 walking around, movement Environment_Bethany
10:55 tape restarted? Environment_Bethany
15:36 children playing outside? Environment_Bethany
12:03 door opens and closes Environment_Bethany
14:56 tape paused and restarted? Environment_Bethany
14:57 outdoor noises (birds?) Environment_Bethany
11:48 mic noises and footsteps - microphone switch between speakers? Environment_Bethany
12:47 mic noises - sounds like breathing (or wind?) Environment_Bethany
14:37 laughter Environment_Bethany
15:06 slapping sounds Environment_Bethany
15:35 cat meowing? Or children playing? Or birds? Environment_Bethany
0:21 - 0:43 "It's very uh -- it's very much important that you became a political prisoner and this is what you were in many ways. Not that we say you should have thrown a brick [unclear if you did]. I don't know whether you did or you didn't.Maybe some of you did. This we shouldn't have done because we need discipline. We have to have far more discipline than the white man if we're gonna win this uh struggle." Transcription_Bethany
1:00 - 1:22 "Whether you threw a brick or didn't, the fact still remains that he used you as a tool, as an instrument. He made something of a thing of you. Because he was trying, by keeping you in jail, by setting a bond at 5/000 finally reducing it to 500, to strike fear in the hearts of your parents, and other people in the community." Transcription_Bethany
1:23 - 1:30 "He was trying to cut off one segment of the Negroes in Mccomb from another segment" Transcription_Bethany
1:56 - 3:17 "You were used. Some of you no doubt will be bitter about it. I know a lot of people were bitter the night that the [or our?] houses were bombed. Bitterness alone is not going to suffice. If you're angry, good. You have right to be angry. The question now is not whether you're angry or you dislike somebody, but whether or not you will take actions take steps to change the kind of city and county where people can be held in jail for things like this, where they can create a law to arrest any negro or any white person in the movement on just about any charge they want to and they you know, give it an nice sounding name. They say "syndicalism." Some of us [unclear] stumble over it [when we couldn't?] pronounce the word. But it still basically means that anyone who tries to work for justic in our socuety is doing something against the law. This is ironic, this is a mockery. You know. During the next few weeks, months, or years, everyone here, in Mississippi and in the south is going to be embroiled in a battle, and you're going to have to do something." Transcription_Bethany
2:46 "They give it a nice sounding name-- they say 'syndicalism'" - the charge used to arrest the group of students Transcription_Bethany
3:43 - 3:49 "You're going to have to be out canvasing, talking to people, doing something to bring about justice, unless you enjoyed being in jail" - this sounds threatening Transcription_Bethany
3:49 - 4:00 If you didn't enjoy it then you must do something to change it and that's simply turn your back and say "it can't happen again" cause it can happen again and it might happen tomorrow. Transcription_Bethany
4:00 - 4:02 unless you're ready to do something Transcription_Bethany
4:04 - 4:15 plus you, your friends and your parents are ready to band together as a united people seeking to bring about a full good free society and world in which to live Transcription_Bethany
6:00 "I was out in a day" - one of the white protestors arrested Transcription_Bethany
6:09 - 7:33 "I thought...what you must be thinking about and how it must make you feel to know that, you know, a white civil rights worker can be picked up and out of jail in a day when you have to stay in jail and stay in jail and say in jail. And, it's not fair, it's.. I don't know what to say about it, except that that's why we're down here, and we're not gonna leave, until such a time arrives that, you know, people aren't treated that way." Transcription_Bethany
7:44 - 7:33 woman in audience - "yes, lord" Transcription_Bethany
8:40 - 8:59 "That sounds huh absolutely stupid to me, but we will check with our lawyer, to make absolutely certain. We will, you know, find out, cause we don't want them to pulling you back in on a technicality. They would try and do something as asinine as that, but uh, we want to check that out" Transcription_Bethany
9:50 - 9:51 "They wouldn't even let my father give me not clothes or nothing" Transcription_Bethany
9:55 - 9:56 "They wouldn't even let me talk to nobody" Transcription_Bethany
10:07 "Louise Banks -- they wouldn't even let me talk to nobody, the whole 30 days" Transcription_Bethany
10:14 "They let my uncle come one time and they told him to hurry up because they didn't have but a few seconds" Transcription_Bethany
9:35 - 9:37 "It was a week before they let me even see WIllie" Transcription_Bethany
9:12 - 9:25 "What were the conditions there, first in terms of the parents being able to get in and see the children? I know some were able, and some were not able to see their children." Transcription_Bethany
9:39 - 9:42 "It's according to how they feel whether they let you see their parents or not" Transcription_Bethany
9:49 - 9:50 "the white people could come in" Transcription_Bethany
10:07 - 10:13 "Louise Banks. They wouldn't even let me talk to nobody. In the whole thirty days." Transcription_Bethany
10:15 - 10:23 "They let my uncle come one time and told him to hurry up because they didn't have but a few seconds. And out of the thirty days they let me see nobody else" Transcription_Bethany
11:11 - 11:16 "...some days they were mean to us. They cursed at us." Transcription_Bethany
12:54 - 12:59 "they told us they were going to quit feeding us and quit letting our parents see us and quit letting them bring us anything" Transcription_Bethany
14:06 - 14:13 " I would like to ask you about what recreation privileges did you have?" Transcription_Bethany
14:13 - 14:15 "None" and "None at all" Transcription_Bethany
14:15 - 14:16 "Were you able to get out of the cell at all?" Transcription_Bethany
14:19 "[unclear ] play cards" Transcription_Bethany
14:34 "How about the food that they gave you there?" Transcription_Bethany
14:36 - 14:44 unanimous response that food was awful: "terrible," "it's cold," "cold beans," "cold pork and beans out of the can" Transcription_Bethany
14:45 - 14:46 "potatoes mashed up with eggs" Transcription_Bethany
15:06 - 15:08 "about two weeks ago, they stopped giving us coffee" Transcription_Bethany
15:11 - 15:12 "What did you have for breakfast?" Transcription_Bethany
15:12 - 15:16 "grits," "bread," "little old small pieces of bacon" Transcription_Bethany
15:22 - 15:25 "How about your singing? Have they discouraged your singing in the cells?" Transcription_Bethany
15:26 - 15:28 "They cursed us, so many times, every night" Transcription_Bethany
14:52 - 14:55 "shhh" Barbara Beecher (?) shushes attendees (for better recording quality?) Transcription_Bethany
13:06 - 13:07 "Wait, John. Wait. Let one talk" - Barbara Beecher (?) Transcription_Bethany
8:40 inequality of court requirements Topics_Bethany
9:15 conditions at prison Topics_Bethany
10:11 lack of communication Topics_Bethany
10:21 isolation Topics_Bethany
11:09 police stealing from those imprisoned Topics_Bethany
11:53 hygeine at prison Topics_Bethany
12:45 police threatened students Topics_Bethany
13:15 police threatened isolation Topics_Bethany
14:11 lack of recreation privileges in prison Topics_Bethany
14:35 inadequate food in prison Topics_Bethany
15:12 breakfast in prison Topics_Bethany
15:24 singing discouraged Topics_Bethany
9:25 - 0:09 Mrs. Thomas Speakers_Bethany
9:54 Louise Banks Speakers_Bethany
10:58 Christine Anderson Speakers_Bethany
1:06 Barbara Beecher (?) Speakers_Bethany

Example Project using "'Criminal Syndicalism' case, McComb, Mississippi" from the John Beecher Collection at the Harry Ransom Center at Harry Ransom Center.

IIIF manifest: