At first, I wasn't sure Kickstarter would be the right way to begin funding research for this book. It seemed a precarious sort of net-casting, hoping the little fish will swim in on their own.
But then I considered the legacy Zilphia Horton left behind. She was a woman whose path began when she tried to organize her father's coal field into a union. From the little research I've been able to do so far, I'm already clear on Zilphia's firm belief in the power of a community. Whether she was singing for pickets, organizing a theater troupe or a dance, or whether she was sitting in a classroom asking as-yet-unempowered people to teach the group a song to sing together...Horton understood well that the first step to accomplishing anything seemingly insurmountable was to ask for collaboration.
Candie Carawan (who works at Highlander Research & Education Center - where Zilphia did much of her work as a music leader, organizer, teacher, etc.) recently told me:"[Zilphia Horton] knew that people who came to Highlander from grassroots communities did not feel powerful. They had little formal education and little money and not much power in their communities. Often however, they had strong cultural traditions and came from places where cultural expression, particularly singing, were survival skills. She understood that singing together can be a unifying experience and an empowering one. She taught songs that she knew, and she always asked what the people themselves knew and could teach."
So, in that spirit, I hereby cast my net. Thank you so much, in advance.
Your investment in this project will allow me to conduct exhaustive research and bring you a story which will not only fill in some holes in the history of American "protest" music, but will also share the legacy of a woman whose name deserves to be more widely known. If you're not comfortable joining this site to make a pledge to the project, you can send a check payable to me at the following address:
c/o No Depression
PO Box 31332
Seattle, WA 98103
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