USC Thornton presents From Tragedy to Triumph – A Seven-Part Series

Friday, March 12 at 6:00pm

More dates through May 21, 2021

Virtual Event

USC Thornton presents From Tragedy to Triumph – A Seven-Part Series
Friday, February 26, 2021, through Friday, May 21, 2021

Live via Zoom

Admission is free.


From Tragedy to Triumph is a multimedia, interactive seven-part series about the African diaspora led by USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy. Each event is produced in creative collaboration between student and faculty composers, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, and writers from across the university, and will close with a Q&A session with the artists and performers.

Part 1 – “The Middle Passage: Between Home and Death”
Friday, February 26, 2021, at 6 pm

Discussion, spoken word, narration, dance, traditional Sinte drumming, and music by celebrated composer Florence Price meld the past and the present and explore the period of the Middle Passage (approx. 1525-1866).

Part 2 – “The Spirit of My Home”
Friday, March 12, 2021, at 6 pm

A blend of animation, film, and narration tell the multi-generational story of spirituality, ancestral knowledge, and religious conversion of enslaved Africans to Christianity during the 17th Century.

Part 3 – “White: You Strike. You Strip. You Steal”
Friday, March 26, 2021, at 6 pm

Animation, poetic interpretation, and narration contemplate the harrowing cycle of family separation and the dehumanization of Black bodies in the Antebellum South (1783–1861).

Part 4 – “Emancipation Jubilee”
Friday, April 9, 2021, at 6 pm

A documentary about the events leading up to the Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction explores the influence of this period on today's political climate utilizing poetry, dance, and music.

Part 5 - Surviving Jim Crow: The Healing Power of Music
Friday, April 23, 2021, at 6 pm

The story of a fictional man who develops a love of jazz to help him survive the racism and systemic violence he experiences in the Jim Crow Era (1880–1945) is told through cinema.

Part 6 – “The Civil Rights Movement: Snapshots of Everyday Life”
Friday, May 7, 2021, at 6 pm

An expressive blend of jazz, archival footage, and oral history frame the era of social justice and activism, with topics including the war in Vietnam, housing discrimination, and representation in the performing arts.

Part 7 – “Call Me Triumphant! Call Me Black.” 
Friday, May 21, 2021, at 6 pm

Spoken word, dramatizations, choreography, and music amplify Black women’s struggles for equality and justice across centuries of the Black experience in America.

Presented by the USC Thornton School of Music with support from USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative.

Event Type

Arts, Music, Film Screening, Dance/Theater


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


Other Location


music, dance, Cinematic Arts, Dramatic Arts, literary arts, usc_bhm


Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative
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