The Sound Of Freedom: Music As A Tool For Activism During The Civil Rights Movement

Open Access
Vogel, Alexandra Fay
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Crystal Renee Sanders, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael James Milligan, Honors Advisor
  • civil rights movement
  • music
The freedom struggle would not have been possible without music. At every moment of African Americans’ fight for justice, music was intertwined with activism. This thesis will briefly provide an overview of the historical role of music in the African American freedom struggle and then focus specifically on the role of music within the civil rights movement. Activists’ utilization of music made the fight for racial equality that occurred in America during the 1950s and 1960s possible. Specifically, music was a critical tool for mobilization and helped sustain activists’ efforts emotionally and financially. This thesis aims to demonstrate that discussing the civil rights movement without discussing the role of music in activists’ efforts is impossible, as music was a critical tool that made activism possible.