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Dr. Melvin L. Butler
African American Song Traditions
A lively discussion of the historical development and cultural contexts of African American music-making from early plantation songs and spirituals, to the emergence of 20th-century blues, gospel, and other black popular music styles.
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Recent Episodes
In this episode--part 2 of a two-part series on protest and pride--I explore the work of artists such as Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, the Staple Singers, James Brown, and others, who used music as a means of promoting racial justice and respect, often in response to the trials and triumphs of...
Published 04/23/20
In this episode, I explore the music of the Civil Rights Era, focusing on Bernice Johnson Reagon's work with the Freedom Singers and Sweet Honey in the Rock. I also discuss the contributions of activists known as the Freedom Riders, who sang freedom songs as they endured racism and violence while...
Published 04/22/20
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