Studs Terkel interviews gospel vocalist Mahalia Jackson. Jackson discusses the freedom rally that will be taking place at McCormick's Place in Chicago, IL. The following musical excerpts were removed from the program: "Keep A-Movin'"; "Hold On"; and "I'm On My Way".
Studs interviews Willie Dixon and Koko Taylor about the blues. They discuss their song "Insane Asylum" and their work together. Dixon uses his song "Little Red Rooster" to help explain how the blues are created from life experiences. Taylor reflects on singers like Willie Dixon, Memphis Minnie, and others who influenced her desire to sing the blues. Taylor also discusses European audiences and blues influence there. The musical numbers are removed from this edited version of the original recording.
Recorded live on Chicago's South Side. Robeson is ill at the time of recording. Speakers: Earl Dickerson, Etta Moten Barnett, Judge Sidney Jones, J. Mayo "Ink" Williams, Joan Brown (possibly Abena Joan Brown), Charles Hamilton, Margaret Burroughs, [John Gray's sister], [Stevens?]
Studs interviews Phyl Garland about her book "Sound of Soul." They discuss various musicians that she mentions in her book and their influence on black music. Garland explains the music of young black artists and how commercialization of music gave blacks an opportunity that they would not have had otherwise. Garland talks about how Fannie Lou Hamer used music to express her message in the Civil Rights Movement and as a women's rights activist. Studs and Garland discuss various black female artists and their music.
Langston Hughes, John Sellers, James Cotton, and Otis Spann discuss their origins and blues music. The interview focuses heavily on Langston Hughes and how deeply he is influenced by the blues. Hughes also discusses his upcoming book "An African Treasury" at length. Hughes, Sellers, Spann, and Cotton perform a number of songs during the interview, they have been removed due to copyright.
Singer Harry Belafonte discusses Black music including spirituals and jazz and how it has contributed to American culture.
Presenting music by the "Shanghai Quartet,"- Weigang Li, Honggang Li, Zhengh Wang, Käthe Jarka, w/ Elizabeth Buccheri- with blues singer and mandolinist Yank Rachell.