Today is Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon’s birthday and I felt compelled to honor her. For those that follow TSM, you know I am a devoted fan of Sweet Honey in the Rock, the a cappella group Reagon founded in 1973.
I was first introduced to Sweet Honey in the Rock in 1991 at the Black Arts Festival at Piedmont Park, in Atlanta, Georgia. After hearing them perform Ella’s Song, I went out and bought all of their albums and went to every concert when they came to Atlanta. Reagon earned her doctorate at Howard University and became a strong voice in the Civil Rights movement. Reagon, through her music, addresses issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, and the intersections of oppression. She reached many of us dedicated to civil rights through song:
I learned that if you bring black people together, you bring them together with a song. To this day, I don’t understand how people think they can bring anybody together without a song…I came out of the Civil Rights Movement, and I had a different kind of focus than most people who have just the academic background as their primary training experience.
For me, Dr. Reagon is a musical social worker. Happy Birthday. If you would like to know more about Dr. Reagon, click here.