Protest Songs Roundtable: Civil Rights, Unions, Immigrants and Stonewall

United Press International. A Negro Girl Sings and Claps Her Hands as D.C. National Guard Trucks Roll Along Constitution Avenue Here 8/28 before the Start of the Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Gelatin silver print. New York World Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (038.00.00)

United Press International. A Negro Girl Sings and Claps Her Hands as D.C. National Guard Trucks Roll Along Constitution Avenue Here 8/28 before the Start of the Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Gelatin silver print. New York World Telegram and The Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (038.00.00)

This Thursday the Music Division is pleased to present an engaging roundtable discussion that will examine the role of protest songs from the 1960s in shaping contemporary American culture. This program is part of a series of events at the Library of Congress that commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which took place on August 28, 1963 around the District.

Curators from the Library’s Music Division and American Folklife Center will lead a conversation about music from several of the major protest movements from the 1960s, such as those related to civil rights, labor, Stonewall, immigration and war. Though specific songs and artists came to be identified with one movement or another in the 1960s, those associations have evolved in recent decades. By the arrival of the twenty-first century, many protest songs that gained fame in the 1960s have become iconic works of “Americana,” including Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land” (1956). As quintessential American music, these songs can both unite and divide people and communities.

The trend of protest songs being appropriated by multiple communities continues in America and the global community. U.K. singer Heather Small’s “Proud” (2000), for example, has enjoyed status as an unofficial anthem for some in the LGBTQ community, was a victory song for the 2010 reelection campaign of sitting-Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick, and was the official song for the U.K.’s campaign to host the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Come share your thoughts on protest music and the legacy of the March on Washington with the Library of Congress community. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

A Day Like No Other Banner

Presented in association with “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington”// Songs of America // Office of Opportunity, Inclusion and Compliance // Blacks in Government // Daniel A.P. Murray African American Culture Association // Hispanic Cultural Society // LC GLOBE

Event Listing
March on Washington: Protest Songs of the 1960s that Shaped American Culture
Thursday, November 14, 12:00-1:00pm
Roundtable Discussion with Nicholas Alexander Brown (Music Division), Todd Harvey (American Folklife Center) and James Wintle (Music Division)

Free, no tickets required
Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building
Event Flyer

Gay rights demonstration at the Democratic National Convention (1976), New York City. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Gay rights demonstration at the Democratic National Convention (1976), New York City. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress

 

One Comment

  1. Carla
    December 13, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Protest music in old times was very common but also was hidden because sing about “bad” things like war, discrimination and that kind of themes was a taboo and these songs defied the society. The protest music could be writing for a solitary person or for a group of people that express the furor of the many people. The repertoire of music is high and unassuming a soothe of people.

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