Bernice Johnson Reagon on ‘This Little Light of Mine’

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Bernice Johnson Reagon — a singer, song leader, civil rights activist and scholar — was an integral part of the African American struggle for civil rights. In the ’60s she helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Freedom Singers, and in the ’70s she founded Sweet Honey in The Rock. She is now a Distinguished Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C., and Curator Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution.

In this excerpt from a 1991 interview with Bill Moyers, Reagon explains how music was used throughout black history to empower and show solidarity, and how one particular song — “This Little Light of Mine” — helped do that during the civil rights movement.

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  • Jane Bowers

    Thanks, Julie. So nice to hear Bernice Johnson Reagon again. (Not that she’s not still around, but I haven’t seen or heard her for a long time). Jane