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Tutt Library Research Guides


FG308 Advanced Topics in Feminism & Gender Studies: Black Feminist Thought: Audio

Billie Holiday

Photograph of Billie Holiday from the Gottlieb Jazz Photo collection on Flickr courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Black Jazz, Blues, and A Whole Lot More from the Internet

Marian Anderson - God Bless America at the Lincoln Memorial.  After the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow Marian Anderson sing at Constitutional Hall, Eleanor Roosevelt persuades the Secretary of Interior Hicks to allow her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, with over 75,000 in attendance (1939)

Marian Anderson with the Detroit Symphonic Orchestra - Deep River (1939).

Harry Belafonte - Day O (Banana Boat Song), Man Smart, Woman Smarter

Oscar Brown Jr. was a singer, playwright and poet who fought for racial equality through politics and Art throughout his life. Visit "Dapo Torimira performs with Oscar Brown Jr. on TavisSmile" for another tune and more about Oscar Brown's accomplishments.   Wikipedia entry for Oscar Brown Jr.

Dorothy Dandridge - Body and Soul and The Nearness of You

Duke Ellington plays Satin Doll courtesy of YouTube.  For more information about Duke Ellington, visit Wikipedia.  For additional performances by Duke Ellington, visit Jazz on the Web.

Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong - The Blues are Brewin'

Billie Holiday sings What a Little Moonlight Can Do courtesy of YouTube.  Billie has received many awards posthumously including over ten Grammy Awards and the Grammy Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame, Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame and many more. Billie Holiday remains one of the most popular Jazz singers even today and her intimate and personal approach to singing along with her unique and amazing phrasing make Billie one the greatest ever in Jazz. Her style continues to influence singers in various genres and while many try and imitate her, there will never be another Billie Holiday.

Billie Holiday sings Strange Fruit courtesy of YouTube.  Recorded in 1939 and 1944 ‘Strange Fruit’ became one of Billy Holiday's signature songs. Holiday would end all her shows with the song and one of her accompanists, Bobby Tucker, said she would break down every time after singing it. In 1999, Time Magazine named ‘Strange Fruit’ the song of the century, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978 and in the list Songs of the Century put together by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.  For more information about Billie Holiday, visit Wikipedia.  For additional performances by Billie Holiday, visit Jazz on the Web.

Lena Horne - Stormy Weather (1943) and Moon River (1965)

Mahalia Jackson - The Queen of Gospel?  Amazing Grace, the Battle of JerichoSteal Away, and We Shall Overcome (1971).  The last link also provide a narrative story. 

Eartha Kitt sings Santa Baby.  A You Tube video celebrating her life.

Nina Simone sings Four Women courtesy of YouTube.  “Four Women” was first recorded by Nina Simone on her album Wild is the Wind in 1965. The song tells the story of four African-American women, each verse representing a different women’s experience in America. The first character is named Aunt Sarah who is a representative of the times of slavery and Nina focuses on her strength in the face the long term suffering endured. The second character is names Saffronia and is a woman of mixed race and identity and focuses on the experience of black Americans being at the will of white people in power. The third woman is named Sweet Thing, who is a prostitute that is able to find acceptance from both black and white people alike. Though her acceptance by white men is based on the sexual gratification she provides them. The last woman is named Peaches and most likely reflects Nina Simone herself. Peaches is a product of generations of racism and oppression and is filled with bitterness and rage.  For more information about Nina Simone, visit Wikipedia.

Nina Simone sings Mississippi Goddamn courtesy of YouTube. For more information about Nina Simone, watch this 1985 interview provided by In it she speaks specifically about "Mississippi Goddamn" and the effects the song had on her career as well as on the movement.

Bessie Smith - Baby Won't You Please Come Home (1923),  Empty Bed Bludes (1928),  Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (1929),  St. Louis Blues (1929), and  Yellowdog Blues

Billy Taylor and Nina Simone perform "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" via YouTube.  One of the most popular anthems of the Civil Rights Movement, written by Billy Taylor in 1954 and made famous in the 1960s by Nina Simone.  For more information about Billy Taylor, visit Wikipedia.

Koko Taylor - I'm A WomanKoko Taylor was born Cora Walton on September 28, 1935 in Memphis, TN. She got the nickname "Koko" because of her love of chocolate. Accurately dubbed "the Queen of Chicago blues" (and sometimes just the blues in general), Koko Taylor helped keep the tradition of big-voiced, brassy female blues belters alive, recasting the spirits of early legends like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Big Mama Thornton, and Memphis Minnie for the modern age.

Sarah Vaughan - Round Midnight and Send in the Clowns

Marion Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial

Marian Anderson's Easter Sunday Lincoln Memorial concert on April 9, 1939 from the UCLA Film & Television Archive's "Hearst Metrotone News Collection."

"Strange Fruit"

Billie Holiday sings Strange Fruit courtesy of YouTube.  Recorded in 1939 and 1944, ‘Strange Fruit’ became one of Billy Holiday's signature songs. Holiday would end all her shows with the song and one of her accompanists, Bobby Tucker, said she would break down every time after singing it. In 1999, Time Magazine named ‘Strange Fruit’ the song of the century, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978 and in the list Songs of the Century put together by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Freely available on the Internet

Audio Resources for Digital Stories

Some of these resources can be used in connection to WeVideo or Moviemaker to add layers of sound or more sophisticated audio tracks to a digital story

Song Lyrics

Want to write about a song? Make your life easier by finding the lyrics:

Just for Fun

African American Music Overview by Wikipedia.

Exploring Black Music Podcasts from Columbia College Chicago.

Boombox : Boombox gives you access to exclusive hip hop and r&b news stories, video premieres, and information on urban recording artists.

10 Questions with Aretha Franklin

Selected Internet Audio Resources

African American History Month Audio/Video from the Libray of Congress.  Audio and video presentations present a sampling of the material related to African American history available from the Library of the Congress and other partner agencies. These include Webcasts as well as musical recordings and unique sound artifacts, such as the stories of African Americans.

Antislavery Literature Project Videos and Podcasts.  Provides streaming video to interpret selected historical texts, to present research lectures, and to provide teaching models for antislavery literature. Videos include abolitionist choral music from the Antislavery Ensemble, in cooperation with the Arizona State University School of Music, and lectures from a Harvard University course on American social protest literature.  One new multimedia project involves podcast readings of Frederick Douglass translations as a way to explore the translation history and international reception of early African American literature.

Black Panther Party Sound Recording Project.  UC Berkeley Library Social Activism Sound Recording Project.

An Imperfect Revolution: Voices from the Desegregation Era. American RadioWorks. September 2007 : In the 1970s, for the first time, large numbers of white children and black children began attending school together. It was an experience that shaped them for life. Courtesy of Public Radio.

Maya Angelou on Slave Narratives.

Oh Freedom Over Me. American RadioWorks. February 2001 : In the summer of 1964, about a thousand young Americans, black and white, came together in Mississippi for a peaceful assault on racism. It came to be known as Freedom Summer, one of the most remarkable chapters in the Civil Rights Movement. Courtesy of Public Radio.

Radio Fights Jim Crow. American RadioWorks.  February 2001 : During the World-War-II years a series of groundbreaking radio programs tried to mend the deep racial and ethnic divisions that threatened America. Courtesy of Public Radio.

Remembering Jim Crow. American RadioWorks.  November 2001 : For much of the 20th century, African Americans endured a legal system in the American South that was calculated to segregate and humiliate them. Courtesy of Public Radio.

Say It Plain, Say It Loud : A Century of Great African American Speeches.  Public speech making has played a powerful role in the long struggle by African Americans for equal rights. This collection, for the ear and the eye, highlights speeches by an eclectic mix of black leaders. Their impassioned, eloquent words continue to affect the ideas of a nation and the direction of history  Courtesy of American RadioWorks, January 2011.

Voices from the Days of Slavery : Former Slaves Tell Their Stories.  The almost seven hours of recorded interviews presented here took place between 1932 and 1975 in nine Southern states. Twenty-three interviewees, born between 1823 and the early 1860s, discuss how they felt about slavery, slaveholders, coercion of slaves, their families, and freedom. Several individuals sing songs, many of which were learned during the time of their enslavement. It is important to note that all of the interviewees spoke sixty or more years after the end of their enslavement, and it is their full lives that are reflected in these recordings. The individuals documented in this presentation have much to say about living as African Americans from the 1870s to the 1930s, and beyond.  All known recordings of former slaves in the American Folklife Center are included in this presentation. Some are being made publicly available for the first time and several others already available now include complete transcriptions. Unfortunately, not all the recordings are clearly audible. Although the original tapes and discs are generally in good physical condition, background noise and poorly positioned microphones make it extremely difficult to follow many of the interviews.  Courtesy of the Library of Congress, American Memory Project.

We Shall Overcome1963.  Vincent Voice Library (4 West) Voice 621 : Liz Lands and a gospel chorus sing "We shall overcome" at the Lincoln Memorial at the Great March on Washington. From the Motown tape "Great March on Washington" produced by Junius Griffin.

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