Feb 17, 2015

Jazz & The Civil Rights Movement


Nothing happens before its time.

Montreal is a dynamic, cultural city offering much in arts and education.

The Grande Bibliothèque in downtown Montreal had the documentary Let Freedom Sing waiting for me to take out on loan during Black History Month 2015.

The DVD provides insight into the connection between the Civil Rights Movement and folk, jazz and soul from as early as the 1940s to the hip hop music of today.

Music has always been an instrument of change and a reflection of the times in which it was recorded. Prior to watching the documentary, I learned that the iconic Strange Fruit sung by Billie Holiday had a far deeper meaning than the title implied. 

I also learned the true context from where Nina Simone’s Mississippi Goddam came.

In keeping with the tradition of education during Black History Month, I learned that Montreal’s Andy Williams will be teaching a class at McGill University exploring the connection to the Civil Rights Movement and specifically jazz music.

The course takes place Wednesdays starting February 18 to April 8, 2015.

Visit the PACE website for more information.


Below are exercepts from an interview with Andy Williams.



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