Emory Report
April 2, 2007
Volume 59, Number 25

Emory Report homepage  

April 2, 2007
Sweet Honey in The Rock’s Reagon’s ‘Songtalk’ highlights Candler’s Women’s Week

by kim urquhart

Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Sweet Honey in The Rock, did more than talk at Candler School of Theology’s Women’s Week. She sang, and those gathered for her “Songtalk” found their voices echoing in harmony throughout Cannon Chapel.

During the live performance conversation March 26, the founder and guiding voice of the all-woman, African American a cappella group spoke on topics ranging from her Baptist heritage to her involvement in the civil rights movement. Interweaving her stories with song, Reagon shared her belief that music is a means for impacting change in society, creating solidarity in the face of adversity and uniting people while celebrating their differences.

Reagon, who is now retired from Sweet Honey in The Rock, is a noted political activist and a professor emeritus of history at American University. She has served as a music consultant, composer and performer for several radio, film and video projects. Her work as a scholar and composer is reflected in numerous publications and productions of African American culture and history.

Candler Women, a group of female divinity students, sponsored “The Art of Justice” as part of Candler’s annual Women’s Week from March 26–30. The week’s events included a series of guest speakers, worship services and entertainment, highlighting women’s roles in civil rights and social justice movements.

Reagon applauded Candler’s efforts. “It’s refreshing to come to this place and find a woman’s week.” She urged Candler students to make a difference. “I absolutely expect you to wreak havoc on things as they are. If they don’t teach you this in class, buy yourself some Sweet Honey records,” she concluded with a smile.