NEARLY SOLD OUT. Please contact the box office at 612-332-5299 for seating options.

Free • Make reservations HERE (made possible through the generous support of the Musicians Union Trust Fund)

5PM – Doors
5-6:30PM – Book Signing: The proceeds from the By Her Side book signing will be going to the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development (RRPI) in Detroit,  which is a non-profit organization that was co-founded by Elaine Steele and Rosa Parks in 1987.
5:30PM – Kitchen Opens
7PM – Music Begins

Emmy Award-winning actor and singer T. Mychael Rambo narrates a trip through gospel, R&B, soul, and jazz, as well as music from
Freedom Train, the musical that tells the thrilling story of Harriet Tubman, and includes songs like “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” “Steal Away,” and “Wade in the Water.”

On stage with T. Mychael will be singers Ginger CommodoreDennis SpearsPatty Lacy, and Kevin Jackson, and Mississippi, the band of Walker West Music Academy faculty that features Kevin WashingtonKavyesh KavirajPete Whitman, and Jeff Bailey.

Music has always been at the core of highlighting the struggles and triumphs of Black people in America as a community, noting spirituals such as “Wade in the Water,” and “Down in the River to Pray.” We know that field songs or work songs often had coded messages for people to understand what’s going on.

As we look at the history of Black people in America, music has always been at the core of highlighting struggles and triumphs as a community, noting spirituals such as “Wade in the Water,” and “Down in the River to Pray.”

Because these spirituals provided both solace and direction during slavery, they also represented the kinds of songs sung in the first Juneteenth celebrations, when on June 19, 1865, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and over a month after the civil war ended, Black people in Galveston, Texas, were told legal slavery had been abolished in the Confederacy.

Music has also always been a form of resistance as well as celebration. During the civil rights movement, songs like “Say It Loud” by James Brown, Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” Pete Seeger’s “We Shall Overcome,” Aretha’s “Respect,” “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” by Nina Simone, and “I’ll Take You There” by the Staple Singers helped form a musical soundtrack for the continuing effort.

The night will include songs of freedom, in honor of those whose idea of the Freedom Train was to allow all Americans—from all over the country—the opportunity to share fully in our nation’s promise and its history.  We’ll salute the Freedom Riders, those groups of white and African American civil rights activists who participated in Freedom Rides, bus trips through the American South in 1961 to protest segregated bus terminals. And we’ll commend those who were strong enough, brave enough to not accept being berated, assaulted, and made to feel less than human. This music reflects the spirit of the time. Music of true artists/activists, who laid down the history of an old America to a new beginning.

A “Whatever you can afford” amount is encouraged and can be paid through GiveButter, 100% of which will be donated to Walker West Music Academy.


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