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CBMR Digest is a publication of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago

ISSN # 2168-3301spring 2012 | Volume 25, No. 1

Voices of Change: Black Women in Music

The CBMR and Columbia College’s Fashion Study Collection assisted in the creation and design of Voices of Change: Black Women in Music, an exhibition that was curated and organized by the Hokin Project, a student-run collaboration of the Arts, Entertainment & Media Management Department (AEMM) and Student Affairs/Department of Exhibitions and Performance Spaces (DEPS) of Columbia College Chicago. The exhibition explored the lives of three influential African-American female performers and their impact on twentieth-century popular music: gospel legend and civil rights activist Mahalia Jackson, pioneer composer, arranger, and jazz trombonist Melba Liston, and the genre-traversing singer Mavis Staples. Their stories chronicle early black music entrepreneurship, the uniting force of music during the civil rights movement, and the effect of African-American vernacular musics—especially jazz, gospel and soul—on the global landscape. Above all, Voices of Change showcases these women’s determination to create music in historical moments when female musicians of color were often outnumbered and disregarded, opening the door for generations of artists to come.

The exhibition was open to the Columbia College community and to the public from December 2011 through the end of January 2012 in the college’s Hokin Gallery. The Hokin Project Team included Leslie Adkins, Odalis Adrian, Christen Calloway, Christian Cruz, Pat Elifritz, Julie Niemi (a CBMR student worker), Alex Palmer, Bill Ross, Susan Williams, and Casey Winkleman.

More from spring 2012