An exhibition featuring garments selected from Columbia College Chicago’s Fashion Studies Collection, which focuses on clothing styles from the civil rights era, along with materials from the archives of the Center for Black Music Research, which illustrate the vital role the Chicago-based Staple Singers played in the civil rights movement.
The Staple Singers gained fame in the 1950s with their stark country gospel sound. The Chicago based family act consisted of father Roebuck "Pops" Staples, son Pervis and daughters Cleotha and Mavis; daughter Yvonne later joined the group and replaced Pervis when he was drafted into the army.
During the 1960s, the Staple Singers often toured with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., singing at the protest rallies. Freedom songs written by the Staple Singers, including “Freedom's Highway,” “Why Am I Treated So Bad?” and “Step Aside,” are part of the soundtrack of the civil rights movement.
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