Week 3: Planning for a conversation

Apr 24, 2020

Ms. Goldfarb was kind enough to put me in touch with a scholar of American protest music named Pat Thomas! We have been exchanging emails and will be talking this week. I am excited to hear what he has to say.

I am planning to ask him about his opinion on the significance of protest music during America’s past, present, and future. I am also curious about any recommendations for anti-Vietnam War protest musicians that he might have. 

If you are interested in his work, please refer to these links he sent me:








In addition to the music and protests of the Vietnam War, Pat has also written about the Black Power movement. Although the war is the focus of my project, I hope to discuss the role of protest music in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements with him as well. Anti-racism and anti-Vietnam War protests occurred at the same time, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that there were connections between them. I have come across evidence for this connection, but I would like to hear Pat’s take before concluding anything. For instance, Phil Ochs, Judy Collins, and Pete Seeger participated in the Mississippi Freedom Drive, a June 1964 voter registration drive through the South. Nina Simone released renditions of various political ballads such as Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and Seeger’s “Turn, Turn, Turn,” as well, and Sam Cooke reportedly displayed an interest in Dylan’s songwriting. 

Check back soon to hear about our conversation!

2 Replies to “Week 3: Planning for a conversation”

  1. Denise H. says:

    This is amazing!!! I’m excited to hear what you guys spoke about. I was watching The Two Killings of Sam Cooke, and it mentioned Cooke’s spin on Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”. He wanted to sing the song as a black man. Knowing the weight of the song and how people would respond, he sped up the song and added a beat so it would be more easy to digest. Might be interesting to check out, the movie is on Netflix. Can’t wait to see more!

    1. Sahm S. says:

      Wow, I just listened to Sam Cooke’s version, and his voice is a lot more powerful than Dylan’s, who likes to sing-talk. It sounds like a completely different song. Thanks for letting me know about it! I’ll also add The Two Killings of Sam Cooke to my watchlist. I’m very curious about his music and activism.

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