Social activist and civil rights champion Mattie Jones will lead songs at
the 8th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival on Sunday, April 10th, teaching historic
Freedom Songs from the Civil Rights Movement.
Here is a video of Mattie Jones singing.
A lifelong champion of freedom and equal rights, Jones began her
career of activism in the 1950s, when she marched alongside Martin
Luther King Jr. During the decades that followed, she was a tireless
participant in the Civil Rights Movement, taking part in many
non-violent protests and working hard to eradicate segregation.
Arrested dozens of times for civil disobedience, she often leaned on
Freedom Songs — anthems and hymn-like songs that were inspired by old
African-American spirituals — to keep her and fellow activists determined and encouraged
during times of struggle.
She continues to advocate for victims of racist policies and
practices, working in leadership roles with organizations like the
Kentucky Alliance Against Racial & Political Repression and New York
City's Fellowship of Reconciliation. With a lifetime of lessons and
music gleaned from her civil rights work, she is uniquely qualified to
educate the public about social change and racial inequity — issues
that remain as important in today's world as they did in Jones' youth.
"Mattie Jones has lived an incredible life of social activism in the
struggle for civil rights and human rights in America," says Brooklyn
Folk Festival producer Eli Smith. "Arrested more than 50 times for
acts of civil disobedience, she has shown by example the way that
social change is really made. Ms. Jones is also a wonderful singer and
keeper of the freedom songs of the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th
century. She would like to impart the songs and lessons from her life
of activism to young people."
Founded in 2008 to help showcase the folk music of New York City and
beyond, the Brooklyn Folk Festival is expanding its reach in 2016,
with the added goal of highlighting the roles of culture and music in
social and political activist movements. Held at St. Ann's Church at
157 Montague Street, the three-day event will also include workshops,
puppet shows and dozens of music performances. Mattie Jones'
performance is scheduled for 3:45 p.m on Sunday, April 10th, at Parish