Festival of Ideas and Curriculum Integration | February 10 -14, 2020
Festival of Ideas
Jon Meacham
Meacham is a Pulitzer-prize winning presidential biographer and historian and a well recognized television commentator. His most recent book, co-authored with Grammy-winning singer Tim McGraw, is Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation. A Billboard review notes that the "book's eight chapters each speak to an American era - such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement...The tunes, often in support or protest of a movement, give shape to the way that music tells the history of America as much as wars, economic instability, and social agitation do."
Students often learn more if they can connect emotionally to the theory, concepts, and ideas they are studying. One way to create an emotional spark in your students is to connect them to people who feel passionately about the issues your are exploring. For this year's festival of ideas, we're encouraging faculty to integrate these public lectures into their spring courses. Below you'll find additional, readings, films, interviews and activities that can supplement the Jon Meacham lecture.
Readings and Assignment Ideas | Public Lecture
(free for students, faculty, and staff) Februrary 13, 7:00 pm
Martha Street Culp Auditorium
Chapter One of Meacham's book contains the story of "The Liberty Song" published in 1768. The song was an attempt to encourage colonists to adopt revolutionary values.
This eBook details the song's role in social, cultural, and political movements over time. It includes an index of alternative versions of the song including a version used by the Women's Suffrage movement.

Published in 1953, this book, now available electronically, provides a historical survey of protest songs including songs of textile workers, miners, and other laborers.
An 82 minute documentary showcasing songs from the Civil Rights movement. The film includes performances from contemporary artists performing many of these freedom songs.

This film details the role of folk music in the development of american culture. The film features a number of artists including Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald and others.

The recent Ken Burns' film Country Music tells its own history of the modern United States. This excerpt examines songs of the Great Depression and the difficult strains of American life in the 1930s.
The Library of Congress Songs of America Collection includes sheet music cover art, song recordings, and period illustrations that allows students to research the role of song in social movements. Among my favorite features is an American Song Timeline .

Song played an important role in protest movements in Appalachia. With the help of the Archives staff, you can determine a time to bring your students to the archives to explore recordings of the songs of people like Aunt Molly Jackson whose music helped reform the coal industry in the mountain south.