For more than a half-century Bernice Johnson Reagon has been a major cultural voice
for freedom and justice. An African American woman’s voice, a child of Southwest Georgia, a voice raised in song, born in the struggle against racism in America during the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s, she is a composer, songleader, scholar and producer.
Scholar and Teacher
Perhaps no individual today better illustrates the transformative power and instruction of traditional African American music and cultural history than Bernice Johnson Reagon, who has excelled equally in the realms of scholarship, composition, teaching and performance.
Dr. Reagon was the featured speaker at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, Washington for a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. The Seattle Times published a great review: “Freedom singer delivers civil-rights lessons in Seattle”.
Bernice Johnson Reagon on Freedom Fighting
Bernice Johnson Reagon raised us in song. She helped assuage our pain and stress, like a balm of Gilead. As guest speaker of Berklee's 15th annual Liberal Arts Symposium, Sweet Honey in the Rock founder Reagon inspired a packed house at David Friend Recital Hall with partly sung memoirs and advice from her life as a freedom singer.…
Reagon began her keynote by singing a soft spiritual, and told us, “I was born among singing. I don’t know of breathing or eating, without singing. I don’t mean from the radio (a wonderful invention) or from the iPod (another wonderful invention). I mean [singing] like walking and talking, like the air you breathe, so you didn’t define it in any particular way, because it was woven inside the you you came to know, the house you grew up in, the yard you played in, the school you went to, the church you went to. It was singing by the people around you.” …
Read the full article by Fred Brouchard, associate professor in the Liberal Arts Department, Berklee College of Music
- JANUARY 2014
Mon: 20 @ 11:00 a.m.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Sun: 26 @ 7:00 p.m.
- Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely with Bernice Johnson Reagon: Sacred Music Show
Buy tickets online
Wed: 19 @ 7:30 p.m.
- Bucknell University
Series Event: The Civil Rights Movement:Fifty Years Later
Weiss Center for the Performing Arts
Thu: 20 @ 10:30 a.m.
- Boston University
African American Music in World Culture Conference