Ain't I Got a Right to the Tree of Life? Healing Spirit through Music

Public Programs and Performances WKS 035 1.00

The class will focus on the wisdom and courage (as expressed boldly in their songs) of noble men and women held in bondage during the 17th and 18th centuries—people who suffered unspeakable cruelties yet, through song and faith, maintained the belief that all human beings had an equal right to freedom and dignity. In our current society, these songs (African American spirituals) still show timeless wisdom and vision. We will explore how these songs have been used throughout the 20th and 21st centuries to carry a strong message in times of struggle. In labor movements, the civil rights movement, the free speech movement, and the protests in Tiananmen Square, these songs have inspired millions to keep pushing forward. They continue to inspire us now, as we work toward deconstructing the multiple layers of racism, sexism, religious persecution, cultural exclusion, homophobia, and generational barriers that impede our progress toward building a society in which all people have the freedom to live without fear of oppression.

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