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Music Will Be The Message At Cincinnati's MLK Commemoration

Ann Thompson
Participants in Cincinnati's annual MLK march walk to Music Hall.

Songs that carried the Freedom Movement will be center stage Monday as a music historian examines how it scripted a "narrative of liberation." This Music Hall MLK program culminates a day that begins with a Freedom Center breakfast, a Fountain Square prayer service and a march.

The MLK Coalition in Cincinnati looks to "the wisdom and deep background" of Dr. Tammy Kernodle, a Miami University professor of musicology, in a themed program "Sounds of Struggle, Songs of Freedom."

"We're really still trying to unpack what is the legacy of the civil rights movements and particularly how music factored into the movement as a whole," Kernodle says.

She says everyone has used music at one time or another to either protest their situations or go beyond them. Kernodle will take the audience back in time and then forward, "in looking at how music has scripted an America, a kind of narrative of liberation."

Kernodle was born in Danville, Virginia, the site of one of the bloodiest civil rights struggles and the last capitol of the confederacy.

Here she is talking about the Freedom Summer and its ties to Miami University.


Here's a schedule of Cincinnati's MLK Coalition commemoration:

  • 8 a.m. - Sold-out King Legacy Breakfast at the Freedom Center
  • 10:30 a.m. - March to Fountain Square
  • 11 a.m. - Prayer service at Fountain Square and then march to Music Hall
  • 12 p.m. - Music Hall program