Required reading and viewing
Week 13. “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom”: Protest Culture of the 60s
Week 13. “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”: Movement Women
- *Class Playlist [Below]
- Steinem, Gloria, My Life on the Road (2016)
- *Ann Margaret, “How Lovely to be a Woman” from Bye Bye Birdie (1960)
- *Hayden, Casey and King, Mary, “Sex and Caste: A Kind of Memo” (1965)
- Amiri Baraka, Dutchman (1964) [Filmed play below].
- 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 movement culture themselves?
- What are stereotypes from American racial history and popular culture used in Dutchman?
- 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?
- 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?
- What roles do different generations play in both the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movement as represented in this week’s readings?
- 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?
- What constitutes a movement? Leaders? The people? And what part does popular culture play in movements?
- 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
Fannie Lou Hamer, an African American woman from Mississippi, worked as a sharecropper before becoming a civil rights activist. She was also known as a forceful gospel singer who lead marches and prayer meetings with her inspiring and distinctive voice. When she learned about her right to vote from SNCC activists, Hamer attempted to register to vote, but encountered resistance and persecution for her efforts from local whites. Hamer eventually registered to vote and became an activist. She helped organize Mississippi Freedom Summer, an effort to register African Americans in Mississippi to vote, and when the state’s Democratic Party refused to desegregate its delegation to the Democratic Convention, Hamer co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. She went to the convention, challenging the Democratic Party to enforce integration in the southern branches of the party, and testifying to the brutality she had endured in Mississippi.
Commercial Civil Rights Songs Used in Protest
Joan Baez cover of “We Shall Over Come” (Live, 1963). For more on the history and use of this song (often described as the Civil Rights anthem) check out this NPR feature “The Inspiring Force of ‘We Shall Overcome.‘”
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.
The Freedom Singers, a group of African American singers, began as a student quartet, but became the singing branch of SNCC – the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, one of the major Civil Rights groups of the 60s. The Freedom Singers toured the country, helping to popularize the movement’s ideals. Here, one of the Freedom Singers discusses the role of music in the movement.
The Folk Revival
The folk revival of the 1960s (roughly 1958-65) frequently engaged with the movements of the era. Anti-nuclear, civil rights, antiwar, and environmental concerns were all represented in the song-writing of these years. Major songwriters whose writing evinced concerns with politics and social movements included Pete Seeger, Malvina Reynolds, Bob Dylan, and Phil Ochs. For more, listen to the playlist prepared by Sarah King for your listening pleasure.
Black Power, Muhammad Ali, & Nina Simone Interviews
Anti-Vietnam Protest Culture
Please check out this Spotify Playlist curated by Sarah King on Vietnam Protest Music.
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
Television Programming Radicalizes
“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.
Thank you to doctoral candidate Sarah King who submitted multimedia excerpts and curated Spotify playlists for this page.