2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Sun Ra and the Death Sentence of Earth
Dylan G. Pyles
Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentor

This presentation examines the rise and fall of the Black Power movement through the lens of the music and philosophy of Sun Ra, with emphasis on the political atmosphere from which both Black Power and Sun Ra's ideology emerged. This analysis is aided by an examination of the insurgence of Afrofuturism, which Sun Ra championed and utilized as a sort of protest to the protest of Black Power. The paper parallels the Black Nationalist movement and Sun Ra's career, tracing the ups and downs of their respective activism and noting their agreements and divergences. A final musicological look at Sun Ra's work in the avant-garde jazz arena illuminates his unique philosophical and political ideology, and allows a clear view of the subsequent juxtaposition that set his ideas apart from other Black Nationalist theories through the literal and symbolic methods of protest which he practiced.

Keywords: Sun Ra, Jazz, Black Power, Black Nationalism, Interdisciplinary, Musicology, Civil Rights, Afrofuturism

African-American Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 311-1
Location: VH 1010
Time: 1:00

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