the music of freedom
Lincoln Presidential Library presents ‘Oh
Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement’ on June 19
Send a link to a friend
[June 14, 2019]
Music played a vital role in the civil rights
movement by lifting spirits, inspiring protesters and sweetening
The Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library and Museum will celebrate that music June 19
with a performance of “Oh Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights
The show features award-winning Illinois folksinger/folklorist Chris
Vallillo performing pivotal songs from the movement and presenting
first-hand accounts of the historic struggle.
He will be joined onstage by Springfield’s Pleasant Grove Baptist
Church Choir to bring these inspirational songs to life, from the
powerful gospel of “Wade in the Water” to the quiet strength of “We
The concert takes place on “Juneteenth,” the holiday celebrating
freedom from slavery, particularly the day in 1865 when enslaved
people in Texas received word of their emancipation.
“Hearing these songs performed by Chris and the Pleasant Grove
Baptist Church choir reminds us of the power and the struggle behind
them,” said Phil Funkenbusch, the presidential library’s theater
director. “This is one of those special evenings to witness.”
The performance begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general
public or $8 for members of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Foundation. To buy tickets, visit
www.PresidentLincoln. Illinois.gov and click “Special
[to top of second column]
Music was part of the civil rights movement every step of the
“When blacks in Montgomery chose to walk rather than ride segregated buses, they
sang. When black customers were beaten at segregated lunch counters across the
south, they sang. And when the Freedom Riders were pulled from their buses and
beaten, they sang,” Vallillo said.
For more about Vallillo, visit www.
The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous
scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in the life and times
of Abraham Lincoln. Visitors can see ghosts come to life on stage, watch TV
coverage of the 1860 presidential election, roam through the Lincoln White
House, experience booming cannons in a Civil War battle and come face to face
with priceless original Lincoln artifacts.
The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents,
photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to
all aspects of Illinois history.
For more information, visit