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Inspirational Women Of Music In The 1960s: Elizabeth Douglas And Aretha Franklin

1463 words - 6 pages

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, This is what Elizabeth Douglas and Aretha Franklin both sought out for with regards to African American women in the 1960s. Both of these inspirational women had an extensive role in the Civil Rights Movement. Elizabeth Douglas, more commonly known as Memphis Minnie, used her guitar to change the lives of a bountiful number of people in America. Meanwhile, Aretha Franklin used her recognizable voice to help embolden equal opportunities for African American women and men. Even though Elizabeth and Aretha had unique styles of music, both of these women had common interests when it came to the equality for African American men and woman. The woman in the music industry significantly impacted the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Elizabeth Douglas was one of the numerous women in the music industry to try to put an end to segregation in stores, in restaurants, movie theaters, in life, and even in the work place.
Elizabeth Douglas was born in Algiers, Louisiana on June 3, 1897 (Rey). She was the oldest child of 13 brothers and sisters. Elizabeth was given the nickname Lizzie and “Kid” by her close friends and family. She first started playing guitar at the age of 8 when she got her first guitar. When Elizabeth was a teenager, she left her home in Walls, Louisiana and began her life in Memphis, Tennessee. On the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, everyone called Elizabeth “Kid” Douglas. Kid soon realized the struggles of being a broke musician in a highly populated city. When Kid first moved to Memphis she played in string groups and jug bands (Nager). Because she was homeless, Kid had to endure tough situations like having no money for food, clothes, and Kid did not have a place to live for a short amount of time. White Americas would also use folderol to discourage Kid and make her feel lousy about herself. Even though Kid endured a rough start to life, not all aspects of life in Tennessee had a negative effect. Living in Memphis brought about a new name for Kid. People started calling her Memphis Minnie because she got her start on the streets of Memphis, Tennessee and because she was a short petite woman. Things would soon turn around for Elizabeth “Kid” Douglas’s life and musical career. Memphis Minnie was open to trying new innovated things. This would become an asset to her music career. She soon would become a huge sensation in America and will bring a new way of playing music to the public.
During the 1920s, Minnie played with all types of people and different bands. Minnie’s first break out single in her music career was the song “Bumble Bee Blues.” In the 30s Minnie moved Chicago to learn about the new kind of jazz and pop music that was becoming popular at the time. As stated in the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, “Minnie joined the musicians union and bought a National electric archtop guitar, becoming part of that transitional generation between acoustic Delta blues and the electrified Chicago sound.” Men were envious of the...

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