Black Culture

Freedom Songs and the Civil Rights Movement

April 25, 2010
Freedom Songs and the Civil Rights Movement

The freedom songs, lifted from the African American spirituals songs, helped to inspire and transform ordinary black people and their multiracial allies into a moral and social force, commonly known as the Civil Rights Movement. This movement, aided by the freedom songs, changed the structure and character of American society that may never be...
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Harlem Renaissance: The Garvey Aesthetic

April 17, 2010
Harlem Renaissance: The Garvey Aesthetic

The Harlem Renaissance was truly a milestone and high point in African American history. Viewed as a flowering of music, literature, poetry and visual arts, the Renaissance period paralleled and reinforced the emergence of a new African personality, expressed in the “New Negro” anthology, edited by Alain Locke. The impetus for this new personality...
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Harlem Renaissance: The Making of American Music

April 11, 2010
Harlem Renaissance: The Making of American Music

As has been well documented, in the second decade of the twentieth century, a section of New York City called Harlem became the Mecca and magnet for the coming of age of African Americans. The synergistic and cross-pollination of literature, art and music, informed by a general aesthetic ethos, produced the foundation for America’s...
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Anna Julia Cooper: The Most Gifted Female Public Intellectual

April 4, 2010
Anna Julia Cooper: The Most Gifted Female Public Intellectual

Surely, Anna Julia Cooper fits the criteria of Maya Angelou’s phenomenal woman which reads in part: Now you understand Just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing It ought to make you proud ‘Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally Cooper...
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Women in History: Strong and Beautiful Black Women Keep on Coming

March 7, 2010
Women in History: Strong and Beautiful Black Women Keep on Coming

The extraordinary achievements of African American women did not grow out of the degradation of slavery or segregation, but out of a legacy of courage, resourcefulness, initiative and dignity. For example, a look at the African American Freedom movement and an examination of the triumphs of black women in recent years show what black...
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Marvin Gaye What's Going On: Soundtrack of America

March 6, 2010
Marvin Gaye What's Going On: Soundtrack of America

What’s Going On is not only Marvin Gaye’s masterpiece; it was a ground breaking album for Motown and for music in general. Gaye had been affected by what he had seen and heard in Vietnam and wanted to take his sound in a new direction, using it to inform and motivate people to act....
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Miles Davis Kind of Blue: The Album That Changed Jazz

March 6, 2010
Miles Davis Kind of Blue: The Album That Changed Jazz

Since it hit the airwaves half a century ago, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis has influenced the hearts and minds of jazz fans everywhere. Its songs became instant classics, and it has also converted many a non jazz fan to appreciate the subtlety and complexity of this masterpiece. Kind of Blue has also...
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John Coltrane's Signature Statement: A Love Supreme

March 6, 2010
John Coltrane's Signature Statement: A Love Supreme

Surely, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme has relevance today and carries a message which speaks to the necessity of improving the human condition through elevated consciousness and practice. Coltrane produced a musical statement which tapped into the spiritual consciousness of a broad range of people- student and worker, white and black, religious and non...
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Louis Armstrong West End Blues: The Birth of Modern Jazz

March 6, 2010
Louis Armstrong West End Blues: The Birth of Modern Jazz

Everyday, somewhere, a trumpet or cornet player tries to render an emulation of Louis Armstrong playing the West End Blues. West End Blues is one of the most famous recordings in the history of jazz for the following reasons: 1) Armstrong’s introduction showed how dazzling his skills as a trumpeter were; 2) he laid...
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Billie Holiday Strange Fruit: Anthem of the Anti-Lynching Movement

March 6, 2010
Billie Holiday Strange Fruit: Anthem of the Anti-Lynching Movement

As Reconstruction passed into the Jim Crow Era, predominately African-American music such as jazz and blues evolved. This music explored and reflected the lived experience of African-Americans in America. This music also began advocating for social change. Songs that promoted social activism were rare before the mid 1960s. One of the earliest of these...
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