Essay about Performance At The White House MUS 103

Submitted By Mkagan
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Maryna Kagan Instructor: R. George MUS 103­016 12 Sep 2014

The Civil Rights Movement Songs in the performance at the White House

and their role in our every day lives

“ In Performance at the White House: A celebration of Music from the Civil Rights

Movement” is a concert that took place at the White House East Room on February 10th 2010 in honor of Black History Month and in celebration of 50 years of Civil Rights Movement. This concert consisted of number special selected songs, which were performed by the famous artists like Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson and many others.
All these songs were sung at the civil rights rallies in the early 1960s and inspired many people to resist inequity. Let`s find out more about these protests called the Civil Rights Movement.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, American civil rights movement was a

nonviolent protest movement against “racial segregation and discrimination in the southern
United States of the 1950s and`60s, which was victorious”. Through nonviolent protests, which were inspired and supported by many African American entertainers, this movement “broke the pattern of public facilities’ being segregated by the race and achieved the most important

breakthrough in equal­rights legislation for African Americans since slavery times”(“ American civil rights movement”). That is why Mr. Obama, the first African­American president, who hosted that evening, in his opening remark said: “The civil rights movement was a movement sustained by music”. The music, he said, “was inspired by the movement and gave strength in return” (Pareles).

Also, to participate in the concert a legendary folk singer­songwriter Bob Dylan was

invited. He wrote and sang many Civil Rights Movement`s songs for example: “The Ballad of
Emmet Till,” “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” and “Only a Pawn in Their Game”.
There were other musicians who regularly sang at civil­rights rallies in the early 1960s, and who presented their songs from that period such as: Bernice Johnson Reagon with the Freedom
Singers, Jennifer Hudson, the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Howard University Choir.

That day at the White House Joan Baez was with the song “We Shall Overcome” that

was the anthem of the movement during 1960s. Joan Baez a folksinger, songwriter, musician, activist, who sang this song at rallies, used very emotional and hopeful words and phrases to express the depth of her feelings, such as: deep in my heart, I do believe, some day, we’ll walk hand in hand, we shall live in peace, we shall all be free, we are not afraid, etc. In Jon Pareles`s opinion, a music reviewer for The New York Times, she “called for a sing along from the invited audience, and got one. She recalled the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King`s deciding to protest the