“She Sang Freedom” - Tammy Kernodle to Perform at Baylor in Celebration of Black History Month

She Sang Freedom graphic
Feb. 5, 2018

Contact: Carlye Thornton, Baylor Libraries, 817-965-1535
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WACO, Texas (Feb. 5, 2018) – The Pruit Memorial Symposium Committee and the Baylor University Libraries will present “She Sang Freedom,” a one-of-a-kind performance featuring artist and storyteller Dr. Tammy Kernodle at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, in Bennett Auditorium of the Draper Academic Building, 1420 S. Seventh St.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will be held following the performance.

“We are excited to feature ‘She Sang Freedom’ as one of Baylor’s signature events for Black History Month. Dr. Kernodle is that rare, award-winning academic who also is a gifted musician and singer,” said Robert Darden, professor of journalism, public relations and new media in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences and founder of Baylor’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. “She is also a longtime friend and fan of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. She has been one of our strongest advocates in the academic world and has advised on numerous occasions.”

For her performance, Kernodle will sing the songs of Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples and Roberta Flack. Several freedom and protest songs will be experienced through live performance and stories.

“These black women musicians used music as a means of documenting and promoting the struggle for equality and social justice in America,” said Kernodle. “Be ready to experience the story of various historical contexts from slavery, to the Civil Rights Movements, to the proliferation of the Black Power movement in the 1970s.”

A pianist and vocalist, Kernodle is a professor of musicology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She earned her bachelor’s degree in choral music education and piano from Virginia State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in music history from The Ohio State University. Her scholarship has focused mainly on various genres of African American music, American music jazz, and gender and popular music. She has served as the Scholar in Residence for the Women in Jazz Initiative at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and has lectured extensively on the operas of William Grant Still and the life and religious compositions of jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams. Her work has appeared in Musical Quarterly, American Music Research Journal and Women's Voices across Musical Worlds, a new anthology addressing the contributions of women to music.

Kernodle is the author of the biography Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams (Northeastern University Press), which chronicles the life and music of Williams, whose career in jazz spans more than six decades. She also has served as associate editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music (ABC-CLIO, 2011), which is the first monograph to survey the history of African American music from 1619 until 2010. She also served as senior editor for the revision of New Grove Dictionary of American Music.

“She Sang Freedom” is made possible by the Pruit Memorial Symposium Endowment and is co-sponsored by Baylor’s American studies program, communication studies program, department of history, department of journalism, public relations and new media, Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, College of Arts & Sciences, School of Music and George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

“We are very grateful for the sponsors who help make this event possible,” said Kathy Hillman, associate professor in Baylor Libraries and co-chair of the committee. “These interdisciplinary partnerships enrich the academic and creative communities by fostering an avenue to celebrate Black History Month.”

For more information, visit www.baylor.edu/library/freedom.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


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The Baylor University Libraries support excellence in teaching and learning, enhance research and discovery and foster scholarship and success. Through its Central Libraries and special collections – Armstrong Browning Library, W.R. Poage Legislative Library and The Texas Collection – the Libraries serve as academic life centers that provide scholarly resources and technological innovation for the Baylor community and beyond.

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