Music of the Civil Rights Era

Course Description
During the struggle to transform American society by establishing equal rights under the law, people involved in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s often turned to music as a means of venting frustration, maintaining solidarity, and finding the inspiration to keep fighting. This class will provide a brief overview of the civil rights movement and an examination of the music that nurtured and helped sustain the movement.

Spotify Playlist for Music of the Civil Rights Era

Paul Robeson, "Ol' Man River" (1936)

Billie Holiday, "Strange Fruit" (1959)

Freedom Singers, "We Shall Not Be Moved"
(March on Washington, 1963)

Peter, Paul, & Mary, "If I Had a Hammer"
(March on Washington, 1963)

Mahalia Jackson, "How I Got Over"
(March on Washington, 1963)

John Coltrane, "Alabama" (1963)

Bob Dylan, "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" (1964)

Nina Simone, "Mississippi Goddam" (1964)

Pete Seeger, "We Shall Overcome" (1967)

Freedom Singers, "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody"
(The White House, 2010)

President Barack Obama singing "Amazing Grace"
(Funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney after the
Charleston, SC, church massacre, 2015)

Bruce Springsteen, "Remember When the Music"
(Tribute to Harry Chapin, 1987)

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