Required reading and viewing:

April 25, 2017. “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom”: Protest Culture of the 60s

  • *Class Playlist [Below].
  • *Ruth Feldstein, “‘I Don’t Trust You Anymore’: Nina Simone, Culture, and Black Activism in the 1960s,” Journal of American History 91 (March 2005), 1349-1379. [USC Libraries]. I also highly recommend the documentary What Happened Miss Simone? available on Netflix.
  • Amiri Baraka, Dutchman (1964) [Filmed play below].

April 27, 2017. “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”: Movement Women

  • Steinem, Gloria, My Life on the Road (2016)
  • *Class Playlist
  • *Ann Margaret, “How Lovely to be a Woman” from Bye Bye Birdie (1960) [Clip Below]
  • Recommended for those interested: *Hayden, Casey and King, Mary, “Sex and Caste: A Kind of Memo” (1965) [Online]

Weekly Assignment 

  1. After reading Steinem’s book and Feldstein’s article, what do you feel the relationship is between popular culture and movement culture in the United States? What experiences did Nina Simone and Gloria Steinem have in common and where did they diverge in their activism? How did they use culture or get used by culture themselves?
  2. Don’t forget your journal entries are due on Tuesday in class.
  3. On Tuesday we will discuss Dutchman in class and on Thursday we will discuss Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road. Please come prepared for both discussions.

Discussion Questions to Think About for Tuesday and Thursday

  1. What are stereotypes from American racial history and popular culture used in Dutchman?
  2. What differences and similarities do you notice between the Civil Rights songs coming out of the gospel tradition and Negro Spiritual tradition versus newly produced commercial songs?
  3. After reading My Life on the Road, is car culture a part of American popular culture? What does looking at physical movement and travel add to our understanding of movement culture? What new forms of popular culture are represented in this book?
  4. What roles do different generations play in both the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movement as represented in this week’s readings?
  5. There are other crucial movements in the 1960s like the Grapes Boycott that are not universally identified with music. Why are some movements synonymous with sound and others are not?
  6. What constitutes a movement? Leaders? The people? And what part does popular culture play in movements?
  7. Gloria Steinem advocates for the conversation. How do we apply this in the internet age?

Civil Rights Protest Culture & Black Arts Movement 

Dutchman (written for the stage in 1964 and adapted into a film in 1967, one year before Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage). Here is a PDF of the play’s text if you would like to read along as you watch. 

Gospel Civil Rights Songs

Commercial Civil Rights Songs Used in Protest 

Joan Baez cover of “We Shall Over Come” (Live, 1963)

Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ In the Wind” (Live, 1963)

Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddamn” (Live, 1964)

When you listen to this Aretha Franklin’s cover of “People Get Ready” (a song originally released by Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions) think about how it evokes both traditional Negro Spirituals and train imagery from the Great Migration to recruit listeners into the Movement of the 1960s.

Black Power, Muhammad Ali, & Nina Simone Interviews to Accompany Article 

Anti-Vietnam Protest Culture

Phil Ochs, “I Ain’t Marchin Anymore”

Women’s Liberation Protest Culture 

Ann Margaret sings “How Lovely to Be a Woman” in the film adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie representing womanhood in the 1960s before the movement.

During the Women’s Rights Movement, many love songs were used in the context of marches to describe gender relations beyond the context of romantic relationships.

Emma Watson selected Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road as her first book club read. Here they sit down together and talk about its contemporary implications.

Stark Trek & Civil Rights 

“What Does Assassination Mean?” 

In the wake of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy during the Spring of 1968, Mr. Rogers produced a television special for children addressing political assassination. The extended clip can be found here.

Nina Simone, “Why the King of Love is Dead”

Comedian “Moms Mabley” performed “Abraham, Martin, and John” on Playboy After Dark in 1970.


Dr. Rhae Lynn Barnes is a member of the Society of Fellows at USC and Assistant Professor of American Cultural History at Princeton (beginning 2018). She earned her Ph.D. at Harvard University and B.A. at U.C. Berkeley. She is the co-founder of U.S. History Scene.