The Music Library at Northern Illinois University has curated an exhibit titled, “Just Give Me My Equality: A Look At Protest Music Through History.” The exhibit is available online and select items will be featured in the display cases in the lobby of Boutell Memorial Concert Hall (NIU Music Building) through September 30.
For as long as music has been around people have used it to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Music allows us to express ourselves in a way that speaking or writing cannot. It serves to connect people and bring them together through song and harmony—what better way to protest than to use music to join others to a common cause. Music allows us to express the extreme feelings that lead to protest. From creating rhythmic chants to singing melodic songs, music enables humans to address issues that words alone cannot. There are many ways music can play a role in the world of protest, often on all sides of an issue. As these protest songs live on long after the movements are over, they remind us of that time, and why they were necessary. Protest songs are a great wealth of knowledge that can inform us about the time in which they were inspired.
Not affiliated with NIU? You can still check out items with a courtesy card.