Hope, rage, shared community, defiance, assurance – all characteristics of the music of Black Americans during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. From Billie Holliday and Nina Simone to Fannie Lou Hamer, the Freedom Singers, and vocal allies like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, music influenced the gathering and sending of those fighting for justice during the Civil Rights Movement. The power of group singing became what Dr. King called “the soul of the movement.” We will explore some of the great protest and freedom songs through both a historical and contemporary lens. What made this music compelling? What can we learn from it today? This summer we have seen the peaceful protests of millions around the country, calling for further justice and reform in legislation, regulation, and accountability. Who are the prophets and poets of today’s marches?
Spencer, Reed, "Protest, Solidarity, and Praise: The Singing that Sustained the Civil Rights Movement" (2020). Taylor Talks: A Virtual Learning Experience with Taylor Faculty. 4.