How Much Do You Know About Music & Social Activism In U.S. History?

10 Questions | Total Attempts: 106

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How Much Do You Know About Music & Social Activism In U.S. History? - Quiz

Before there was a Bono or a Bob Geldof or a Peter, Paul & Mary, a group of determined musicians were using their talents to fight social injustice and improve conditions in the early 20th century (give or take a few years). Test your knowledge of the U. S. -based singers and songwriters who risked their jobs, their reputations and, in some cases, their lives to stand up for change.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Lyrics for “The New America” -- sung to the tune of “My Country ’Tis of Thee” (and “God Save the Queen”) -- called for what kind of radical social change in 1891?
    • A. 

      Safer conditions for miners

    • B. 

      Women's equality

    • C. 

      A more liberal immigration policy

    • D. 

      An end to racial discrimination

  • 2. 
    With every union card, new members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) received a Little Red Song Book containing lyrics to sing at rallies. What were these workers nicknamed?
    • A. 

      The Wobblies

    • B. 

      The Crooners

    • C. 

      The Dehorn Squad

    • D. 

      The Warblers

  • 3. 
    What Swedish immigrant wrote the pro-union song, “Workers of the World, Awaken!” and was the defendant in a controversial murder trial in the early 20th century? (Hint: He's the subject of a famous folk song.)
    • A. 

      B. B. Grubbström

    • B. 

      Joe Hill

    • C. 

      Ingmar Bergman

    • D. 

      Jim Jenssen

  • 4. 
    What 1939 song, written by Abel Meeropol and recorded by Billie Holiday, condemned the lynchings that terrorized African-Americans?
    • A. 

      “I Shall Not Be Moved”

    • B. 

      “Going Down to Mississippi”

    • C. 

      “Only a Pawn in Their Game”

    • D. 

      "Strange Fruit"

  • 5. 
    What 1937 musical, attacking corruption and corporate greed, was banned from opening but defiantly performed in a neighboring theater -- without scenery, props and costumes? (Hint: The story was later told in a movie by Tim Robbins.)
    • A. 

      Porgy and Bess

    • B. 

      The Cradle Will Rock

    • C. 

      How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

    • D. 

      Touch of Evil

  • 6. 
    In the McCarthy era, the sheet music for “Ballad for Americans” was ripped from public school songbooks after its composer, Earl Robinson, was blacklisted. What was the song about?
    • A. 

      The history of the United States, a “melting pot” of races and cultures

    • B. 

      An exposé of government corruption that named names

    • C. 

      The rise of Communism in North America

    • D. 

      A plea to return land to Native American tribes throughout the country

  • 7. 
    Who first performed “Ballad for Americans” on CBS Radio and later sang in the benefit concert that sparked the Peekskill Riot of 1949?
    • A. 

      Bing Crosby

    • B. 

      Paul Robeson

    • C. 

      Eleanor Roosevelt

    • D. 

      Woody Guthrie

  • 8. 
    What influential group was formed in 1949 by activist musicians Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman and Pete Seeger?
    • A. 

      The Knitting Factory

    • B. 

      The Chili Peppers

    • C. 

      The Weavers

    • D. 

      The Carter Family

  • 9. 
    What song did Pete Seeger write after he was indicted for contempt of Congress for refusing to discuss his political views before the House Un-American Activities Committee?
    • A. 

      “This Land is Your Land”

    • B. 

      “Que Sera Sera”

    • C. 

      “We Shall Overcome”

    • D. 

      “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

  • 10. 
    What legendary singer-songwriter was called the “Dustbowl Balladeer” and played a guitar sporting the slogan “This Machine Kills Fascists?”
    • A. 

      Odetta

    • B. 

      Woody Guthrie

    • C. 

      Bob Dylan

    • D. 

      Lead Belly

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