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The Nerve! Conversations with Movement Elders


Jul 19, 2023

Candie Carawan is a folk singer, educator, and cultural worker who has been based at the Highlander Research and Education Center in east Tennessee for many years. Candie and her late husband Guy Carawan (1927-2015) worked together as cultural organizers and educators for 50 years. Their workshops and documentary projects took them throughout the South, including the South Carolina Sea Islands, and the southern Appalachian mountains. Their particular interest was how cultural traditions and expression can strengthen and support movements for justice and progressive change. Their website provides a brief overview of this work. They also traveled widely offering music in support of many movements for peace, labor, the environment, immigration rights and gender issues. 

In this episode Candie talks with FJ Johnson about how she found her way to Nashville from California in the spring of 1960 and quickly became involved in the sit-in movement that was underway. She describes learning from Jim Lawson and C.T. Vivian and meeting her future husband Guy at Highlander that same spring. FJ and Candie talk about the importance of reaching into our deep cultural histories in organizing work, the role of white people in multiracial movement work, the importance of being flexible and knowing when it's time to change course, and how music, food, storytelling, and humor help remind us of our power.