Season 2, Episode 6
Though often overlooked in mainstream histories, the voices of Black women were central to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963. And those voices included some of the greatest musicians of the time: Odetta, Mahalia Jackson, Camilla Williams. These women, and the political significance of the spirituals they sang, are the subject of this week’s episode: a conversation with the musicologist Tammy L. Kernodle about the wide-ranging role of music, and the fractious political coalitions it represented, at the 1963 March on Washington.
Tammy L. Kernodle is Professor of Musicology at Miami University in Ohio.
If you’re interested in learning more about Professor Kernodle’s work, you can check out:
- Her book Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams
- The 2019 article “A Woman’s Place: The Importance Of Mary Lou Williams’ Harlem Apartment,” for NPR Music
- The 2021 article “The Hidden Legacy Of The Pointer Sisters, Genre-Busting Pioneers Of Message Music,” for NPR Music
- The 2014 article “Black Women Working Together: Jazz, Gender, and the Politics of Validation” in Black Music Research Journal
- The 2008 article “‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’: Nina Simone and the Redefining of the Freedom Song of the 1960s,” in the Journal of the Society for American Music
- Also discussed in this episode: Farah Jasmine Griffin’s article “When Malindy Sings: A Meditation on Black Women’s Vocality”
Sound Expertise is hosted by Will Robin (@seatedovation), and produced by D. Edward Davis (@warmsilence). Please subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and/or Spotify. Questions or comments? Email williamlrobin@ gmail
A written transcript of this episode is available here; many thanks to Andrew Dell’Antonio for volunteering to prepare transcripts for the show!