Lift Every Voice And Sing: Civil Rights Music At WH

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February 10, 2009: Last night, President Barack Obama hosted an evening honoring the music of the Civil Rights Movement in the East Room of the White House. The event featured a younger generation of musicians as well as luminaries of the Civil Rights era, including Smokey Robinson, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. In his opening remarks, Obama saluted the resounding historical impact of the era’s music: “Above the din of hatred; amidst the deafening silence of inaction; the hymns of the civil rights movement helped carry the cause of a people and advance the ideals of a nation.”

Above, gospel singer Yolanda Adams performs at the evening’s event.

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The Obamas make their entrance.

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Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, arrive in the East Room.

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During an afternoon workshop, several speakers addressed visiting high school students about the role of music in the Civil Rights Movement. Yolanda Adams performs with The Blind Boys of Alabama.

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Yolanda Adams sings, while Toshi Reagon of The Freedom Singers (center) and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon (right) listen.

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Speakers at the event included (from left to right): Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Rutha Harris, Charles Neblett, and Smokey Robinson.

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White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner arrive at the East Room.

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One of the evening’s featured speakers, actor Morgan Freeman, with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the Senator’s wife, Marcelle Pomerleau.

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Morgan Freeman speaks at the event.

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President Obama delivers remarks before the evening’s performances.

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