Let Freedom Ring is a set of three pre-designed itineraries created to highlight the achievements and legacy of African Americans through music and the struggle for civil rights. In our country, there are great rifts between people of differing beliefs, backgrounds, and colors. We have a painful history that we have not fully reckoned with. Let Freedom Ring is our way of contributing to that conversation. We hope to bring awareness of the complex and under-discussed African American experience by using our resources and expertise in the fields of music and travel.
What Are the Let Freedom Ring Tours?
The American “Deep” South played host to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s that changed the face of America forever. The heritage of African Americans in the South is more than just the sum of their political struggles, however. The fabric of American music is a patchwork of traditions mainly rooted in the cultures of enslaved peoples brought to the region from Africa. Perhaps most notable is the uniquely American tradition known today as Negro spirituals, first introduced by the Fisk Jubilee Singers as “slave songs” in 1871. Explore the origins of blues, jazz, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll, and see landmarks in the lives of American musical legends like BB King, Muddy Waters, James Brown, and Nina Simone. Follow in the footsteps of heroes like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as you explore the noble and painful past of the African American experience, and be sure to enjoy the rich musical and culinary culture of the American South along the way.
Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia
The Southern states of Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia play a central role in America’s heritage. The political, cultural, and even agricultural landscape of this region was fundamentally shaped by the institution of slavery and its after-effects. What remains and has endured to this day is a patchwork of people, colors, tastes, and histories. In the 1960s, this region played host to some of the most pivotal moments in the history of the civil rights movements, in which African American activists fought and died for their rights to full citizenship and representation under the law, many of which remain unattained to this day. Not only that, but some of the most vibrant and distinctive musical styles also hail from this area. On this new and unique tour itinerary, you will explore not only the rich musical history of the region but also visit some of the most important historical and often-overlooked landmarks of the civil rights movements, from Memphis to Birmingham, and Selma to Atlanta.
Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia
Today, the states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia are often collectively known as the Deep South. Culturally and linguistically distinct, this region has a varied past, full of sorrow and pain, but also joy and deep creativity. Many of the leaders and ideas of the civil rights movement of the 1960s trace their origins from these four states, and their legacies live on in memorials both physical and figurative. Out of the centuries of enslavement and disenfranchisement, however, also sprung a musical heritage unlike anywhere else in the world. Blues, jazz, and spiritual music that originated from the African American inhabitants of this region informs most if not all of American music to this day. On this extended version of Let Freedom Ring’s Deep South itinerary, you will explore not only the rich musical history of the region, but also visit some of the most important historical and often-overlooked landmarks of the civil rights movements, from Memphis to Jackson and Birmingham to Atlanta.
South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC
The East Coast of the United States is known for its centuries of rich history, from Native settlement to the present day. Look beyond the marble monuments and wide avenues, however, and you will find a wide and nuanced array of stories and traditions often cast aside by scholars and textbooks. From Charleston to the District of Columbia, the lower mid-Atlantic region has been host to countless social movements and is the origin point of flavors and sounds not found anywhere else. You will explore the home of the world-famous and semi-autonomous Gullah Geechee people of the South Carolina Sea Islands, visit the birthplace of funk and R&B in the Piedmont region of Eastern North Carolina, and witness the somber legacy of the Confederacy in the Virginia state capital of Richmond. Your tour culminates in the nation’s capital, a city with an obvious political history and an often-overlooked African American history. Along the way, stop at pivotal sites in the civil rights struggle, and experience the vibrant culture and heritage of the region.
About Classical Movements
The premier concert tour company for the world’s great orchestras and choirs, Classical Movements creates meaningful cultural experiences through music in 145 countries. An industry leader for over a quarter-century, Classical Movements organizes more than 60 tours every year, producing some 200 concerts every season. Producer of two international choral festivals—Ihlombe! in South Africa and Serenade! in Washington, D.C.—and the Prague Summer Nights: Young Artists Music Festival, in addition, Classical Movements’ Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program has commissioned over 70 works from Grammy, Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. Winner of Americans for the Arts’ BCA10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts Award, since its founding in 1992, as a truly global company, Classical Movements remains committed to facilitating cultural diplomacy across the world—promoting peace through the medium of music.