Songs for Justice: A Series Exploring Music in Social Justice Movements
2022 Annual MLK Birthday Celebration in partnership with Community Music Center of Houston
Livestream ONLY, free with suggested contribution $5-20 | View the digital program
In 2022, the Rothko Chapel presents Songs for Justice, a series of concerts and conversations exploring the role that music plays to further social justice movements, addressing today’s inequities and injustices. Coinciding with the Chapel’s annual observance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on January 15, the series opened with a performance of and discussion about music central to the US Civil Rights Movement. The Community Music Center of Houston Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dr. Anne Lundy shared a selection of music central to Dr. King’s transformative leadership and Black Americans’ historic and contemporary struggles for equity. Dr. Shana Redmond, scholar of music, race and politics, discussed the broader history surrounding the relationship between music and activism in the U.S., the importance of music in Rev. King’s life, and the strategic use of music within the Civil Rights Movement.
Buy Shana Redmond's book Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora. Listen to Anthem: The Mixtape, compiled by Shana Redmond & The Dreadstar Movement.
The Rothko Chapel started the annual MLK Birthday Celebration in 1979 to connect the contemporary implications of Dr. King’s legacy to the ongoing struggle for civil and human rights, captured by artist Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk. This sculpture, located on the plaza adjacent to the Chapel, is dedicated to Dr. King. Learn more about upcoming programs in the Songs for Justice series.
About the presenters
Community Music Center of Houston (CMCH), formerly the Society for the Preservation of Spirituals, was founded in 1979. In 1983 CMCH formed the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra (SJCO), a 40 member predominantly Black community orchestra in response to the lack of opportunity for Black classically trained musicians in the world of symphony orchestras. Today SJCO is the nation's second oldest predominantly Black chamber orchestra actively performing.
Dr. Anne Lundy, CMCH Music Director, Conductor, Violinist, Educator and Ethno-musicologist, began her musical studies on the violin. She received a Bachelor of Music Education in 1977 from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Music in Conducting from the University of Houston in 1979. Dr. Lundy received her Doctor of Musical Arts from University of Houston's Moores School of Music in 2015. She has lectured extensively throughout the United States. In addition, Dr. Lundy has published articles on finding and performing music written by African American composers. In 1989, she is the first African American woman to conduct the Houston Symphony at Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston, TX. She founded and currently conducts the CMCH Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra, the William Grant Still String Quartet, and teaches violin and viola.
Shana L. Redmond, Ph.D. (she|her) is a scholar and author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (NYU, 2014) and Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson (Duke, 2020), which received a 2021 American Book Award. She has written widely for public audiences, including the critical liner essay for the vinyl soundtrack release of Jordan Peele's film, Us (Waxwork Records, 2019). She is President-Elect of the American Studies Association and Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity & Race at Columbia University.