Music in the Civil Rights Movement

February marks African American History month and The Music History Project, a NAMM sponsored podcast, took an opportunity to highlight a few of the stories of adversity by those directly involved with the civil rights movement on the 1950s and 1960s in “Ep. 16 – Music in Civil Rights Movement” (originally released February 1, 2018). The episode examines experiences from performers who have faced struggles as artists and those who advocated for change during one of America’s most tumultuous periods in history. Hear from interviews such as musician Specs Powell as he reflects on what it was like to play in bands as an African American and the racial divide predating the civil rights movement. Clora Bryant, often billed as “The female Louis Armstrong”, discusses the existence of separate musicians’ unions for races and the eventual amalgamation of the unions and folk music icon, Peter Yarrow, recounts the inspiration for his civil rights anthem “We Shall Not Be Moved”.

All episodes of The Music History Project can be found in nearly anyplace podcasts are availably including on, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and now found on Spotify.

To hear stories from 14 artists and industry professionals during the era of the civil rights movement, click the “Civil Rights” tag.


Elizabeth Dale
Public Relations Coordinator


Dan Del Fiorentino
Music Historian