Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in History (MA)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
20th Century United States, Labor, United States South
Zilphia Horton, a college educated, middle class white woman from the rural American south, created the canon of music that would become central to the black freedom struggle in postwar America. Horton's work in the post-New Deal labor movement established the methods of incorporating protest music in movements of social justice that prevailed for the rest of the century. The work songs and hymns that she collected, arranged, notated, and published while music director at Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, TN--including "We Shall Overcome," "This Little Light of Mine," "We Shall Not Be Moved"--motivated generations of activists as they transformed the nation. This paper addresses Horton's methods of collecting, teaching, and applying music as a powerful medium of social change - to motivate, to express shared emotions, problems, and goals, and to unify a diverse and divided movement. She developed the musical canon of labor, assured its transmission into civil rights, and created one of the most important and lasting musical legacies of the twentieth century.
Hodge, Chelsea, ""A Song Workers Everywhere Sing:" Zilphia Horton and the Creation of Labor's Musical Canon" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 2328.