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Picture dated 22 October 1991 of legendary jazz and blues singer Nina Simone in concert at the Olympia music hall in Paris.
The impact artists, writers and other cultural workers had on the civil rights movement is a well-trodden topic, but what about the influence black women performers exercised on the movement?
In her new book, “How It Feels to Be Free,” Rutgers history professor Ruth Feldstein looks at the careers of six people—Lena Horne, Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson--between 1950s to the 1970s, to ask how these black women performers helped shaped the discussion around empowerment and forged social changes.
Ruth Feldstein, Associate Professor in History and American Studies at Rutgers University and author of “How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement” (Oxford University Press, USA, 2013)