Memphis-Area Music, Civil Rights Era Combine in Course


An education course combining the Civil Rights movement with music and based on Martin Shore’s award-winning documentary film celebrated its launch at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York in honor of Black History Month.

The Take Me to the River Education Initiative was created through a partnership with Berklee College of Music’s Berklee City Music program.  Based on Shore’s documentary film, the initiative uses standards-based instruction materials using the film and its music, providing the information to students across the country for free.

The course will follow a number of musicians through the creative process of making an album in an effort to re-create the racial, gender and generational collaboration of Memphis during its hay day.  Recording artists featured will include Snoop Dogg, PNut, Hustle & Flow’s Oscar-winning Frayser Boy, Al Kapone and Yo Gotti.  These artists will be paired with Grammy-winning legends such as Mavis Staples, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T. Jones, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby Rush, WIlliam Bell, and Otis Clay.

“Our collaboration with Take Me To The River and these legendary musicians has enabled us to bring history to life for our Berklee City Music students in terms that they not only understand but celebrate. We are excited about this partnership and the opportunities it will continue to bring to students across the nation through our PULSE® program and our friends from Take Me To The River,” said Roger H. Brown, Berklee College of Music President.

The initiative aims to create cross-cultural connections in a number of areas, including music, the arts, history, social studies, and media and studies, and specifically how they relate to the Civil Rights movement.  The course also promises to help students develop skills in music analysis and creativity, as well as in music performance and composition, critical thinking, communication and political analysis.

The course will be available to everyone and offers its students the ability to participate in inquiry-based and experiential learning.

The course hopes to teach its students about the significance that the Memphis music scene had over the inter-generational and inter-racial collaboration, as well as how individuals make an impact on music, culture and history.

Take Me to the River is an award-winning documentary filmed by Martin Shore that celebrates the musical influence of Memphis in the midst of discrimination and segregation that was prevalent during the Civil Rights movement.

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