Black Activists in Popular Music

Fifty and Better Winter Session

Black Activists in Popular Music

This course celebrates the careers of influential Black singers and musicians who used their fame to promote equality and activism in America. Each week, instructor Cary Ginell will profile different aspects of history, including key breakthroughs for African Americans in various fields.

The schedule includes:

  • Week 1 — The Jazz Age: Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker
  • Week 2 — Folk Music & The Left: Paul Robeson, Josh White, Marian Anderson
  • Week 3 — Big Band Giants: Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Billie Holiday
  • Week 4 — The 1950s: Blues, Soul, & Rock & Roll: Harry Belafonte, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry
  • Week 5 — Blacks on Broadway Paul Robeson, Todd Duncan, Oscar Brown Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., Leslie Uggams
  • Week 6 — Activism & the Civil Rights Movement: Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley

Ginell, MA, is a Grammy-nominated writer and author of 12 books on American music. After a 30-year career in radio, he has spent the last 20 years as a public speaker, talking about music in classrooms, at conferences and on cruise ships. He brings a lifelong passion for the recording industry to his work and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on his specialty, Western swing. He holds a master’s degree in Folklore from UCLA.

Registration is required by Jan. 14. Cost is $40 per course. If you buy three courses, you get two free.

The Fifty and Better program was designed to offer university-level courses (no tests, no homework) taught by experts in the field, and to host social engagement activities for individuals age 50 and older.


Register by Jan. 14

Sponsored By
Fifty and Better


Christina Tierney