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From Textile Mills To HB2: The Music Of North Carolina Protests

Marchers and singers at the Poor People's Campaign, Washington DC. May-June 1968, Jimmy Collier is on the left, & Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick on right.
Smithsonian Folkways
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Smithsonian - Folkways - http://s.si.edu/2B1fejh
Marchers and singers at the Poor People's Campaign, Washington DC. May-June 1968, Jimmy Collier is on the left, & Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick on right.

Music as a form of protest has a long history in the U.S. Activists have used songs to guide countless movements, from the abolition fight in the 1700s to anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and beyond.

In North Carolina, protesters have used music to organize, embolden, and unify in a variety of settings over the years.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Vincent Roscigno, sociology professor at Ohio State University, about the music of textile mill workers in the 1920s and ‘30s. Roscigno co-authored the book “The Voice of Southern Labor: Radio, Music, and Textile Strikes, 1929-1934” (University of Minnesota Press/2004).

Stasio also talks with Mary D. Williams, traditional gospel singer and educator, about the role of African-American spirituals during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, as well as Laila Nur, musician and community organizer, about current examples of political music in the state. 
 
 

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC. His fascination for audio storytelling and radio journalism began as a broadcast major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his career as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC’s student-led radio news show, where Charlie’s work won multiple Hearst Journalism Awards.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.