Long-time Highlander staff members and noted musicians Guy and Candie Carawan are among 30 East Tennessee activists to be honored at a Civil Rights Movement Celebration brunch to be held in Knoxville on Tuesday, January 20th. For information about the upcoming celebration, click here.
Guy & Candie Carawan (photo by Jack Parker)
As members of the Highlander staff, Guy and Candie emphasized the importance of music and culture in social justice organizing. They played a vital role helping to make the Civil Rights Movement the greatest singing movement in history by spreading freedom songs like “We Shall Overcome” and “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” to activists throughout the South. After the movement ended, they continued their work with Highlander, supporting Appalachian activists fighting stripmining and other environmental problems and helping to stimulate renewed interest Appalachian music and culture.
Guy left the Highlander staff in the late 1980s, and Candie retired in 1999. But they remain connected to the many people and programs they worked with over the years, and they are still actively involved in movement work. In recent years, they have participated in and sung at anti-war marches, demonstrations at the Oak Ridge nuclear facilities, and rallies for immigrant rights.
Other activists to be honored at the Civil Rights Movement Celebration include Bob Booker, a historian who helped integrate Knoxville’s lunch counters and movie theaters; Sara Moore Green, a retired educator who was the first black member of the Knoxville school board; Rev. Harold Middlebrook, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ and a formers staff member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Avon Rollins, Director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Highlander is proud of its long association with Guy and Candie and happy that they will be honored with such a distinguished group for their many contributions to social justice in East Tennessee and beyond.
Update: An article about the Civil Rights Movement Celebration is available here.
- Guy & Candie Carawan: A Personal Story Through Sight and Sound (includes a resource list of Guy & Candie’s recordings and publications).
- A brief overview of Guy and Candie’s work at Highlander, written in honor of Guy’s 80th birthday in 2007.
- Pictures of Guy at Highlander.
- “ET civil-rights pioneers to be honored on Inauguration Day“; Knoxville New-Sentinel, 1/8/09 (includes information about the Civil Rights Movement Celebration and the activists being honored).