WMOT celebrates Black History Month with songs of ...

WMOT celebrates Black History Month with songs of abolition

Middle Tennessee Public Radio, WMOT-FM 89.5, is joining hands with a New England peer to celebrate Black History Month with “Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Abolitionists,” airing on Sunday, Feb. 10, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Hutchinson Family Singers, shown in this circa-1845 photo from the Metropolitan Museum of New York, are among the musicians profiled in “Let Freedom Sing: Music of the Abolitionists,” which airs Feb. 10 on WMOT-FM 89.5.

Classical New England, the radio arm of Boston-based public broadcaster WGBH, is providing the musical accompaniment to the recent PBS “American Experience” three-part TV series “The Abolitionists.”

The radio program, hosted by National Public Radio’s Noah Adams, profiles five of the era’s musicians with the help of MTSU musicologist Dr. Dale Cockrell of the Center for Popular Music and features tunes recognizable to almost every American.

Those profiled musicians include:

  • Henry Russell, the barnstorming Anglo-Jewish pianist and singer dubbed the master of “chutzpah and huzzah”;
  • the Milford, N.H.-based Hutchinson Family Singers, remembered as America’s first protest singers;
  • Stephen Collins Foster, America’s greatest and most misunderstood songwriter of the 19th century, who brought the rhetoric of the abolitionists into America’s middle-class piano parlors;
  • Chicago publisher turned composer George F. Root, author of the anthemic “Battle Cry of Freedom”; and
  • songwriter Henry Clay Work, author of the emancipation anthem “Kingdom Coming.”

Some of the music featured in the program includes Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Hard Times Come Again No More” and performances of traditional arrangements of “Steal Away” and “De Gospel Train (Get on Board)” by the beloved Fisk Jubilee Singers.

You can listen live to “Let Freedom Sing” at 89.5 FM or online at beginning at 7 p.m. Central on Feb. 10.

For a complete list of songs and the musicians performing them, visit

For more information about the program, call WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800 or visit the website at You can learn more about the university’s 2013 Black History Month events at