Writing: Songs of Social Justice

This writing assignment is the summation of our week-long mini-unit on Songs of Social Justice. This is individual work and should be completed on your own, using your own notes.

You should have the following materials:

  • Handouts, “Songs for Social Justice” (four songs), and “Prison Trilogy”
  • Notes on excerpt from Joan Baez biography, “How Sweet the Sound”
  • Notes on NPR story on Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Prize in literature
  • Your notes on your classmates’ presentations on modern Social Justice songs

Using these materials, please answer the following questions as completely as possible (3-5 sentences each question).

To be complete, this assignment should be written in Google Docs and pasted in the comments section of this post. This should be completed and posted before the end of class today.

  1. What are “Social Justice songs”? How would you define them?

  2. How do you think social justice songs have changed since the 1960s and 1970s? Contrast and compare your knowledge of social justice songs then and now. What is similar? What is different?  What do they have in common? (Hint: Making a Venn diagram for yourself may be helpful!)

  3. Are there differences between the singers and/or songwriters you were exposed to from the 1940s (Woody Guthrie) and 1960s (Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger) and 1970s, and the artists you and your classmates chose that created songs post-1990?

  4. What are some outside factors that have contributed to differences between social justice songs in the 1960s and those created more recently? Explain.

  5. Do you think social justice songs are important? Why or why not?


Social Justice Song Poster

For Monday, 10/17

ONE Google slide (total) about a social justice-themed song (written/recorded after 1990)

Your slide should include:

–The name of the song

–The artist who recorded it

–The person who wrote the song/lyrics

–The year it was written (not recorded)

–A section of the lyrics (4 lines, minimum)

–A researched photograph of the event, person, people, or issue the song discusses and a brief explanation

–Your names (in small, discreet type that’s not part of the design)

Berkeley in the Sixties

Please answer as thoroughly as possible, in a minimum of three paragraphs (in total). Be sure to cite specific instances (dates, etc.) from your viewing of the movie. Write in Google Docs and then paste in your answer as a response to this post. This is due at 11:59, Tuesday, 10/4/2016

The Civil Rights movement was at the center of the student activism at Berkeley from its inception, but like the other movements it was distinct from the Free Speech Movement and the Anti-War movement.  How did each support the other? In what ways were they at cross purposes?