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Ecology of
Mind
Can art educate and even effect change in
the world?
I always hear older people criticize todays music, about how it lacks substance and how
the music of their day meant something. As much as I’d like to argue I can’t, there was a
time when popular music cried out for freedom, equality and social change. The question
posed in this learning module was : How can art educate and even affect change in the
world? One of the strongest examples of art educating and effecting change was the music
of the civil rights era. I’d like to take you on a musical journey of some of the music that
helped shape American history.
Mississippi Goddam
Mississippi Goddam
was written by
Nina Simone in
response to the
slaying of Medgar
Evers. The song
was performed at
the end of the
Selma to
Montgomery
march.
Strange
Fruit
Strange Fruit is a song that was
first recorded by Billie Holiday
in 1939 in response to the
disturbing lynching trend.
Interestingly enough the song
was actually written by a Jewish
school teacher.
A Change is
Gonna Come
A Change is Gonna Come was sang by Sam Cooke and
inspired by his own experiences including be turned away
from a whites only motel in Louisiana.
Alabama
Alabama was composed by John
Coltrane in response to the 16th
Street Baptist Church bombing
in 1963.
We Shall
Not be
Moved
We shall not be
moved is an old negro
spiritual that took on
new life and became
an anthem during the
civil rights movement.
Ain't Gonna Let Nobody
Turn Me Around
This is
another song
that spoke
to the
determined
spirits of
those
fighting for
change
Say it Loud -
I'm Black and
I'm Proud
This iconic song by James
Brown comes in at the tail end
of the movement. It's a song
that empowers and energizes
those that were once
powerless and oppressed.
The Ecology of the mind lesson notes say "Art should uplift
and inspire to action." These songs of the civil rights era
spurred drastic action. These artist so many times put their
own lives in danger when they performed these songs but
they did it because they knew their art was needed to serve
a higher purpose and help fuel the cause. These songs
helped unite and uplift those who were fighting for change.
When they became weary these songs breathed new life
into them. When they felt like giving up, these songs
reminded them that they could and would over come. This,
in my opinion, is art at it's best. Yes the songs are
composed well and sound nice, but they're more than that.
These songs were vehicles for social change.
Bibliography
"Cooke, Sam." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Ed. Nicolas
Slonimsky and Laura Kuhn. Vol. 2. New York: Schirmer, 2001. 716-717.
Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
Fore, Melissa. "Strange Fruit." Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Vol. 4. Detroit:
Gale Group, 2007. 14341435. Print
"Mississippi Goddam." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Apr. 2014. Web.
21 Apr. 2014.
"“Say it Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud” by James Brown (1968)." African
American Eras: Contemporary Times. Vol. 4: Military, Popular Culture,
Religion, Science and Technology. Detroit: U*X*L, 2010. 687-688. Gale
Virtual Reference Library. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.

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Ecology of mind

  • 1. Ecology of Mind Can art educate and even effect change in the world?
  • 2. I always hear older people criticize todays music, about how it lacks substance and how the music of their day meant something. As much as I’d like to argue I can’t, there was a time when popular music cried out for freedom, equality and social change. The question posed in this learning module was : How can art educate and even affect change in the world? One of the strongest examples of art educating and effecting change was the music of the civil rights era. I’d like to take you on a musical journey of some of the music that helped shape American history.
  • 3. Mississippi Goddam Mississippi Goddam was written by Nina Simone in response to the slaying of Medgar Evers. The song was performed at the end of the Selma to Montgomery march.
  • 4. Strange Fruit Strange Fruit is a song that was first recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 in response to the disturbing lynching trend. Interestingly enough the song was actually written by a Jewish school teacher.
  • 5. A Change is Gonna Come A Change is Gonna Come was sang by Sam Cooke and inspired by his own experiences including be turned away from a whites only motel in Louisiana.
  • 6. Alabama Alabama was composed by John Coltrane in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963.
  • 7. We Shall Not be Moved We shall not be moved is an old negro spiritual that took on new life and became an anthem during the civil rights movement.
  • 8. Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around This is another song that spoke to the determined spirits of those fighting for change
  • 9. Say it Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud This iconic song by James Brown comes in at the tail end of the movement. It's a song that empowers and energizes those that were once powerless and oppressed.
  • 10. The Ecology of the mind lesson notes say "Art should uplift and inspire to action." These songs of the civil rights era spurred drastic action. These artist so many times put their own lives in danger when they performed these songs but they did it because they knew their art was needed to serve a higher purpose and help fuel the cause. These songs helped unite and uplift those who were fighting for change. When they became weary these songs breathed new life into them. When they felt like giving up, these songs reminded them that they could and would over come. This, in my opinion, is art at it's best. Yes the songs are composed well and sound nice, but they're more than that. These songs were vehicles for social change.
  • 11. Bibliography "Cooke, Sam." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Ed. Nicolas Slonimsky and Laura Kuhn. Vol. 2. New York: Schirmer, 2001. 716-717. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. Fore, Melissa. "Strange Fruit." Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale Group, 2007. 14341435. Print "Mississippi Goddam." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Apr. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. "“Say it Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud” by James Brown (1968)." African American Eras: Contemporary Times. Vol. 4: Military, Popular Culture, Religion, Science and Technology. Detroit: U*X*L, 2010. 687-688. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.