National Endowment of the Arts - The Big Read
A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying

by Ernest J. Gaines

In all my stories and novels, no one ever escapes Louisiana.


Ernest Gaines (Copyright Joseph Sanford)

Excerpts from “Amazing Grace,” “Guitar Man,” “John Henry,” “Piedmont Medley,” and “Were You There?,” performed by Cephas and Wiggins, from Masters of the Piedmont Blues (2002), used courtesy of John Cephas and Phil Wiggins.

Excerpts from “Moanin',” “Leaving Blues,” “Let it Shine on Me,” and “Cotton Fields,” performed by Lead Belly, from Where Did You Sleep Last Night?: Lead Belly Legacy, Vol. 1, SF40044, provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, © 1996. Used by permission. Published with permission of The Richmond Organization (BMI).

“Death Is Awful” sung by Dock Reed and Vera Hall Ward, from Negro Folk Music of Alabama, Vol. 5—Spirituals, SF00473, provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, © 1956. Used by permission.

Original sound effects by Brent Findley at Sonic Magic Studios, Culver City, CA. Other sound effects recorded live at Angola State Penitentiary.

Written and produced by Molly Murphy and Dan Stone at the National Endowment for the Arts, 2007.

Excerpts from A LESSON BEFORE DYING by Ernest J. Gaines, copyright ©1993 by Ernest J. Gaines. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

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