The Sounds of Liberation: Resistance, Cultural Retention, and Progressive Traditions For Social Justice in African American Music
Luqman Muhammad Abdullah
Thesis DT 3.5 2009 A238
ix, 121 leaves; 29 cm.
The cultural production of music in the Black community has traditionally operated as much more than a source of entertainment. In fact, my thesis illustrates how progressive traditions for social justice in Black music have acted as a source of agency and a tool for resistance against oppression. This study also explains how the music of African Americans has served as a primary mechanism for disseminating their cultural legacy. I have selected four Black artists who exhibit the aforementioned principles in their musical production. Bernice Johnson Reagon, John Coltrane, Curtis Mayfield and Gil Scott-Heron comprise the talented cadre of musicians that exemplify the progressive Black musical tradition for social justice in their respective genres of gospel, jazz, soul and spoken word. The methods utilized for my study include a socio-historical account of the origins of Black music, an overview of the artists' careers, and a lyrical analysis of selected songs created by each of the artists. This study will contribute to the body of literature surrounding the progressive roles, functions and utilities of African American music.