Songs of Protest

There is a rich history of protest music in this country, and these songs have carried social movements and inspired change. In celebration of One Book, One Chicago, I'll highlight some noteworthy protest songs.  "Strange Fruit," which was originally a poem that became a song, was first recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 and would…
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Quiz: Musical Families

We've learned a lot about the Staples family through this season's One Book, One Chicago selection, I'll Take You There. From their humble beginnings singing on the living room floor to their rise to becoming one of the most important groups in the civil rights movement, the book tells the story of their journey and…
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Gospel Music in Special Collections: I’ll Take You There

On September 16, 1966, the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place came alive with the Gospel Festival Spectacular. "Spectacular" is undoubtedly the word today’s gospel music lovers would use to describe this lineup. Among the featured groups to join the Rev. Clay Evans and his 150-voice Fellowship Radio Choir were the Rev. James Cleveland Singers…
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About I’ll Take You There: 2017-18 One Book, One Chicago Selection

I'll Take You There, this year's One Book, One Chicago selection, is the untold story of living legend Mavis Staples—lead singer of the Staple Singers and a major figure in the music that shaped the civil rights era. Honing her prodigious talent on the Southern gospel circuit of the 1950s, Mavis and the Staple Singers…
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