‘The Music of Motown' explores aspects of Black experience

Are some Motown-era songs considered "protest" songs? How did the music of Motown affect the cultural and political agendas of the 1950s and 1960s? Is Motown still influencing the music of R&B, soul and rap artists today?

A January Term course offered at Maryville College helps students answer these questions. The Music of Motown: A Black Historical Perspective explores different aspects of the Black experience that relate to the outstanding contributions of the Motown Music Era. Discussions about affirmative action, welfare reform, interracial relationships, school desegregation and other social and political issues follow an examination of the music and tempo of the time.

WUOT's Ann Lloyd delves into the particulars of the course taught by Maryville College Director of Multicultural Affairs Larry Ervin in this Jan. 14 radio broadcast.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.