The Music of the Civil Rights Movement (1940-1970)

Friday, June 163:30—4:45 PMBrenner RoomRockport Public Library17 School Street, Rockport, MA, 01966

John Clark and his Great American Music Experience presents:  

The Music of the Civil Rights Movement (1940-1970)

This program begins with a controversial Marian Anderson concert and a shockingly sad Billie Holiday song. Then leading up to the Civil Rights songs are You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught from South Pacific and Nat King Cole’s We Are Americans Too, his response to a 1956 racial incident. The rest of the program is devoted to the history of 1950s and 1960s anthems like We Shall Overcome, Eyes on the Prize, Blowin’ in the Wind and other Bob Dylan songs that brought racial issues to even greater national attention. Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come, James Brown’s Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud and Sly & the Family Stone’s Everyday People and even Elvis Presley’s In the Ghetto were all influential and reflected greater public awareness of the need for change. Also included are important songs by Mahalia Jackson, Odetta, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield and Janis Ian.  

John Clark brings us music history lecturer under the banner of The Great American Music Experience. A talented Jazz musician as well (John was a fixture in the New England Jazz scene), he gave over 300 talks last year spanning music from early roots to modern music. With several music degrees, including a PhD in Musicology, John has lectured as a visiting professor and written two books: Experiencing Bessie Smith: A Listener’s Companion (2017) and Blues on Stage: The Blues Entertainment Industry in the 1920s (2023). 

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