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Sharecropper’s granddaughter to speak at Newtown Friends Meeting


Tonya Thames Taylor will speak on “Music, Protest, Discontent and the Peace Testimony” at the Newtown Quaker Meetinghouse, 219 Court St., at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 10.

Following the presentation, there will be worship in the manner of Friends at 11 a.m., with people speaking out of the silence as they are moved to do so. The public is welcome at all events.

Dr. Taylor will discuss the role of music in protesting events such as the killing of Medgar Evers in 1963, the murder of four black girls in Birmingham, Ala., at the 16th Street Baptist Church just a few years later, the Vietnam draft, lynchings and the convict lease system in jails.

She will focus on such artists as Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Raiford Penitentiary’s black convicts in Florida, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

“This conversation will explore music from 19th-century convicts to today’s Kendrick Lamar,” Taylor says. “Participants will take away how music, including classical, can influence today’s testimonies, actions, and activism.”

Taylor, a Mississippi native, is associate professor of history at West Chester University, founding director of the African American Studies Program, member of the executive committee of the Frederick Douglass Institute and a member of the board of directors of the Friends Historical Association and Friends Publishing Corporation.

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