Read PDF Freedom Song: Young Voices and the Struggle for Civil Rights

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The library card you previously added can't be used to complete this action. Please add your card again, or add a different card. An African American woman's voice, a child of Southwest Georgia, a voice raised in song, born in the struggle against racism in America during the Civil Rights Movement of the s and s, she is a composer, songleader, scholar and producer. Here she explains the importance of music in the Civil Rights Movement. How to Think of Freedom Songs One of the first things that's important when you think about freedom songs and the Civil Rights Movement is to not actually think of freedom songs as if they were created strategically by the Movement.

Like the collective breath of the Movement, they were a natural outpouring, evidencing the life force of the fight for freedom.

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Think about the dominant numbers of participants who decided they would put their everyday existence at risk to fight racism in their local community. These people belonged to a culture that had a very high place for music that they themselves created as a part of their daily lives. Most of the participants from these local communities would be able to list to you music in several genres that they liked not only to listen to but also to sing.

So we're not talking about a group of people who just practiced one kind of music. What is interesting about the songs that end up as freedom songs is the fact that they function in the Movement as 'congregational' songs.

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A soloist is someone who can execute the entire song. A songleader is someone who starts the song, and if that performance is successful, it is successful not only because of the prowess of the leader but because people who are located within the sound of that voice join in to raise the song into life. That is congregational singing. It is the kind of singing I grew up with in the Black church, in school, on the playground Sources and Meanings of Freedom Songs The other thing that's important to understand is that the songs that were sung the most were adapted from the repertoire that people already knew.

It gives you a chance to pour into the sound of your singing voice your individual personal commitment to be in the freedom struggle.

Music That Inspired the Civil Rights Movement - Student Workshop at the White House

If you went to a specific local community, you could find things out through the songs used in that community. To understand freedom songs and freedom singing, you would have to imagine or people in Montgomery, Alabama, singing that song with their voices raised for 15 minutes. If you wonder why that song could capture the power of what they were doing, look at the text:. It is a battle song. It tells us something about nonviolence in the Civil Rights Movement.

Many times when people talk about nonviolence, they think of a sort of passivity, a peacefulness. If you are talking about the Civil Rights Movement and our practice of nonviolence, you have to think of aggressive, confrontational activity, edgy activity; action designed to paralyze things as they are, nonviolent actions to force change. We talked about being in the 'freedom fight' and 'freedom struggle.

To reach the masses, men of every birth For the answer, Jesus had the key. Said if I, if I be lifted up, from the earth, Will draw all men unto me. In Montgomery, you have to imagine what it was like. I think for students today, the idea that a group of citizens could not get a meeting with the local board of commissioners is strange.

But you have to imagine that these people, because of racism, often would be refused a hearing by the elected officials of their community on their issues. So you get a song that says, "If I be lifted up, I'll draw all men unto me The Black citizens' faith and a year-long boycott created that power, and regular mass meetings with powerful singing, testimonies, prayers, preaching sustained the communal spirit necessary for their struggle.

If you were in the Movement, many times you were in danger. It was not your regular pace of trying to stay inside a segregated society for your safety.


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But there were always songs that celebrated those times when we came together even in the midst of danger. For many people like me, the highest point of our lives was when we gathered in those mass meetings, and when we marched Not because we worked on the same job, but because we had decided that we would put everything on the line to fight racism in our community. Every participant in a local campaign had to decide to take that risk.

We had to decide to leave the safety of being obedient to segregation to go to a place where we might lose everything we had. We found in this new place a fellowship that we could not have imagined before we decided to stand. And sometimes in celebration of that coming together you could hear the hymn, "What a Fellowship.

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What a fellowship, what a joy divine Leaning on the everlasting arms What a blessedness, what a peace is mine Leaning on the everlasting arms Extent xiv, p. Isbn Label Freedom song : young voices and the struggle for civil rights Title Freedom song Title remainder young voices and the struggle for civil rights Statement of responsibility Mary C. Label Freedom song : young voices and the struggle for civil rights, Mary C.

Bibliography note Includes bibliographical references and index Dimensions 22 x 28 cm.

Music of a Movement: Freedom Songs

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