Women’s history is American history, and women musicians have played a vital role in shaping it. This suggested path examines key moments and movements in Women’s history in the 20th century, as they have been articulated and defined by women musicians and activists.
The suggested path begins with a lesson on “Girl Groups” like the Shangri-Las and the Chantelles in the context of the gendered environment of the 1960s. It then highlights Aretha Franklin’s unique contributions to both the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements. From there, the pathway explores how artists in Rock, Country, and Tejano music expressed the growing sense of self-determination women experienced economically and personally, while also revealing the new challenges women faced after 1970. In the same timeframe, a lesson is offered that explains the role activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Silvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy played in the LGBTQ+ Movement. The pathway then identifies the characteristics of Third Wave Feminism as presented in Rock, Tejano Music, and Hip Hop before entering into the present moment, with lessons specifically on the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movement, both founded by women activists.