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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bernice Johnson Reagon

(October 4, 1942 - ) Songtalker, composer, musician & scholar

Founder and director of the vocal group Sweet Honey in the Rock. She was active in the civil rights movement. She earned a doctorate at Howard University and worked as a cultural historian at the Smithsonian Institute. In addition, she directed several programs in her career. She was made curator emeritus in 1994. She also taught at American History from 1993.

SheFM favorite quotes of Bernice Johnson Reagon
Music of Bernice
The music that has found release through me has always been related to Bernice Reagon, African in America. My songs usually have to do with struggling against oppression, with the feeling of keeping afloat in spite of it all...



  • Today whenever women gather together it is not necessarily nurturing. It is coalition building. And if you feel the strain, you may be doing some good work.
  • I learned that if you bring black people together, you bring them together with a song. To this day, I don't understand how people think they can bring anybody together without a song.
  • It makes sense that whatever the topic is, it's more compelling if you can provide the audience with a range of perspectives, and you can cross disciplines. And you don't have to control what people take out of it.