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Civil Rights Trip Blog by A. Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton ’18 — Even though I am in the Political Science class for this trip, I especially enjoyed the BB King museum since I love Blues music. The sites we saw today had me thinking about not only BB King and other historic Blues musicians, but also their impact on the Civil Rights Movement. I had a great time learning about BB King’s life in the museum. I find it fascinating that so many popular bands, and some of my favorite bands, were great admirers of BB King and other classic Blues musicians. Bands that I love like the Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Clapton, all incorporated traditional Blues songs into their repertoire. Because of this I knew about half of the songs played at Club Ebony by heart: Smokestack Lightning, Big Boss Man, etc. I truly believe that these bands were doing their part in the Civil Rights Movement by playing these Blues songs and bringing them to a much wider audience. The Ray Charles movie we watched on the way to the Ida B. Wells museum only confirmed this idea for me. By refusing to play under Jim Crow laws, Ray Charles was doing his part to end segregation and discrimination in America.

To touch on our visit to the Ida B. Wells museum—I am looking forward to taking the docent’s advice and reading some of Ida B. Wells books. None of us were very informed about Ida B. Wells going into the museum but we were coming out. The docent also mentioned Ida B. Wells in the same context as Susan B. Anthony and Jane Adams, two females who I have been studying in my political theory class this semester. Perhaps it is an unfortunate testament to the subconscious racism in our society that we typically do not consider Ida B. Wells in the same light as Susan B. Anthony or Jane Adams.