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The Power of Music and its Impact on the Civil Rights Movement

Posted 02/09/2015
Posted by David Isgur

In celebration of Black History Month, Anthony T. Rauche, associate professor of ethnomusicology and chair of the humanities department at the University of Hartford’s Hillyer College, will give a talk on “This Little Light of Mine: The Power of Music and Civil Rights.” Prior to the talk, members of the University of Hartford’s Gospel Choir will perform four songs.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 17, beginning at 12 noon, in Suisman Lounge in the Gengras Student Union building, at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford. It is organized by the University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Planning Committee, as part of its “Empowering Change Through Service” series and is sponsored by CIGNA Corp.

The lecture will focus on discussing the power of music in connection with the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. “This Little Light of Mine” refers to a gospel song written by Harry Dixon Loes, which was popular among those participating in the Civil Rights Movement. The song provides hope for freedom and love for people that maintain the light in the darkness. As Dr. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Music had a huge impact on King. In a famous quote he states: “Jazz speaks for life. The blues tell the story of life's difficulties — and, if you think for a moment, you realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.”