Saturday, October 2, 2010


1) In "Singing Civil Rights: The Freedom Song Tradition," Reed identifies a number of 'myths' that he believes are popular misconceptions about the movement. Select at least two of these myths to write about: have you been taught or exposed to the view that Reed sees as 'a myth'? How does Reed's view change your understanding of the movement and why do you think it might be important to challenge that myth?

The two myths that I found interesting was the one that said Martin Luther King Jr. started and led the civil rights movement and that the Civil Rights movement emerged out of no where. I picked these two myths because if they kind of go hand and hand because the myths made it seem like the movement emerged out of no where and was just started by Martin Luther King Jr.

In school I have been taught that Martin Luther King Jr. was the starter and leader of the civil right movement. In school they always made it seem like he was the one who woke up one morning and was like today am going to start a movement for equality for blacks. Not only Reed's view changed my mind but other authors as well as I learned more about the Civil Rights movement later on. It will be important to challenge the myth because there is still that misconception that Martin Luther King Jr. was the leader and the starter of the civil rights movement, and they are still teaching little kids in school this same misconception. I understand he was the face of the Civil Rights movements but at the same time the truth should be told about it.

In school I was never taught that the Civil Rights Movement emerged out of no where, I was taught that after slavery Blacks started to stand up for themselves more, and after years and years of doing this the movement began. There was no need for Reed to change my mind because I knew already that wasn't the truth. Some people probably do think that the movement emerged out of nowhere and I believe those people are very ignorant because if you heard and learned about slavery then their is no way this movement could come out of nowhere. There is a need to challenge this myth that way people learn and gain knowledge that the movement didn’t come out of no where.


  1. Hi Phylicia - Your post made me think about the reason for the myth that the movement was one person - it's easier to tell this story because we're used to thinking about individuals - one person writes a great play, one person gets elected President, one person 'starts a movement' - but the very idea of *movement* suggests a different more complicated story. Why do you think it's important which story we tell?

  2. Its important on which story we tell because we are either trying to paint a good picture or a bad picture>>and putting martin luther king jr as the face of the civil rights movement painted a good picture in a sense because it covered up the other horrible stories of the movement.

  3. Do you mean a good picture of the movement? Or that focusing on King paints the U.S. itself in a better light?

  4. Interesting - but I think Reed is also saying that people like Ella Baker and Fanny Lou Hammer and organizations like SNCC also show a good, admirable story about the movement, but one that's not dependent on a singular figure.