From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian

I’m not much of a musician—that would be my sister—but I certainly appreciate music and the power it has to bring people together. Think of the times a crowd sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” in unison or joins in the chorus of “Sweet Caroline,” at Fenway Park during Red Sox games. Music becomes a unifying force.

That was certainly true during the Civil Rights Movement. Consider the many songs associated with marchers as they fought for equal justice—surely singing the songs of their ancestors helped bolster their morale and courage as they faced taunts, jeers, fire hoses, and baseball bats. Music didn’t take away the sting but it unified those fighting for civil rights.

On Sunday the library will celebrate some of those iconic songs in the program, “Let Freedom Sing: Music of the Movement.” Dr. Lydia Bechtel from the PSU Music Department has put together a group of talented individuals for a presentation about the musical heritage of the Civil Rights Movement. She will be joined by Xavier Moore, Lemuel Sheppard, and Don Viney—all talented musicians—and Khadija Ceesay who will do readings associated with the struggle for civil rights. The program begins at 2:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Recently while cleaning out some files I came across information about a Black History Month presentation organized by former director Dottie Thomas in February 1994, which shamed me a bit (fun fact: Lem took part in that one, too).
I shouldn’t have waited so long to come up with this program—one I’ve wanted to for some time—but well, better late than never. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s performances and hope that you will join me in this rousing celebration of Black History Month.