Dancing in the Street: The Women of Motown

African American Lecture Series: “Dancing in the Street: The Women of Motown”

Thursday, February 20, 2020 – 7:00pm to 8:30pm


Beyond 1950’s “tea parties,” “coffee klatches,” and sewing circles, women of all ages assembled to brainstorm, collaborate, console, and congratulate; often the overriding topics were men and romantic relationships, second only to children and child-rearing. Tami Tyree, singer and African American music historian, suggests the assemblage of “Girl Groups” (which became popularly present in the 1950’s; gaining steam in the 1960’s and riding into the 70’s and beyond) gave rise to the mindset of young women and teens as they approached full womanhood. Tyree will sing and discuss songs which typify the 1950’s female psyche, the transcendent evolution of the music during the social upheaval of the sixties; ushering in radical sounds and thoughts as the “Girl Groups,” evolved from domestic femininity into the 1970’s sexual revolution. From the fifties Chiffons to a group whose relevance spanned three decades, this lecture will explore how lyrics and melodies in this style evolved into a metamorphosis of female philosophy. Whether the Shirelles or Supremes, “Girl Groups.” A vocal trio or quartet of harmonized beauty and refined elegance – was surely welcomed in African American and mainstream popular music. Tyree will proclaim Berry Gordy’s Motown as the most successful black recording company in history and its “Sound of Young America” the champion of successful groups in this genre.

The year 2020 marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. This year’s theme for the African American Lecture Series is “The Year of the Woman – She Changed the World” and will highlight struggles and accomplishments from women in artistic, cultural, and educational advancement.

Presenters will include visual artists, educators, historians, reenactors, storytellers, singers, dramatists, and dancers.

Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center

Event Price

Free Admission
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