Past Events

NJFF: Paul Robeson and Folk Music Discussion Panel

Monday, April 05, 2021, 06:00pm

New Jersey Folk Festival: New Directions in Folk

Paul Robeson and Folk Music Discussion Panel

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New Directions in Folk: How can we re-imagine the future of folk music during this incredible year of renewed calls for social and racial justice?  Before looking forward, we want to look back to one of the greatest figures in the history of the folk music revival of the 20th century and alumnus of Rutgers University: Paul Robeson. What can we learn about the relationship of social justice and folk music in his own life and work? Please join our panel discussion on April 5, 2021 at 6pm with this amazing group of scholars, featuring a special pre-recorded musical contribution from folk musician Josh White Jr. The panel will discuss the legacy of Paul Robeson in folk music in New Jersey and around the world. This panel will be followed by the New Directions in Folk virtual performance of contemporary folk musicians on Saturday April 10 at 7pm. For more information on the entire NJ Folk Fest program this April, visit:

  • Josh White, Jr., son of the legendary Josh White, has been performing as a singer, guitarist, actor, and social activist for 77 years. He has released 25 albums, starred in 4 TV Concert specials, toured the world greatest stages, and has been awarded a TONY Award for acting, named the Voice of the Peace Corps and the Voice of VISTA, and honored with several humanitarian awards.  Most recently, he was seen co-starring last year in PBS-TV's Centennial Concert Tribute to Pete Seeger.   
  • Jorge Arévalo Mateus, is an ethnomusicologist, co-founder of the Woody Guthrie Archives, and former director of the Alan Lomax Archive-Association for Cultural Equity. He is adjunct professor of Ethnomusicology and Race and Ethnic Studies at BMCC and Hunter College (CUNY). Jorge is an active musician, composer, music and radio producer, producing the weekly radio program and podcast, "Hurdy Gurdy Songs", on Radio Free Brooklyn (
  • Michael Gabriele has written four books on New Jersey history, all published by The History Press, an imprint of Arcadia Publishing. His 2016 book New Jersey Folk Revival Music explored the history of folk music in the Garden State, and included a chapter on Paul Robeson. A lifelong New Jersey resident, he's a 1975 graduate of Montclair State University and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer, and author for 40 years. He serves on the executive board of the New Jersey Folk Festival.
  • Vincent Pelote is Senior Archivist and Digital Preservation Strategist at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. He has compiled discographies on Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, and a discography on the Commodore Records label. Mr. Pelote is one of the contributors to the Oxford Companion to Jazz. He has written a number of album program notes on Lee Konitz, Johnny Smith, Mary Lou Williams, Benny Carter, Curtis Fuller, and others. He has written book and sound recording reviews for the ARSC Journal and Notes: The Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association. He was one of the hosts of the radio program, "Jazz From the Archives," which aired on WBGO-FM, National Public Radio (1979-2014).
  • Erika Gorder is Interim University Archivist and previously was Associate University Archivist at Rutgers University since 1998.  She earned her masters degree in History and Archival Studies at New York University and MLIS degree from Rutgers University.  Ms. Gorder is responsible for all operations of the University Archives from appraisal and description to research services and exhibition curation.   The Rutgers University Archives serves as the final repository for the historical records of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.  Ms. Gorder has worked as archivist at the New Jersey Historical Society and Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies.  
  • William Westerman is assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and coordinator of the Program in Ethnic and Immigration Studies at New Jersey City University.  He  also teaches in the New Jersey Scholars Program, and has previously taught at Princeton University, Goucher College, the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, Villanova University, and Rutgers. He has published articles on refugee studies, museum studies, social justice, critical pedagogy, and the politics of folk and traditional arts.
  • Shana L. Redmond is a public-facing scholar and the author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (2014) and  Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson (2020), which was named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR. In 2019 she contributed the critical liner essay to the vinyl soundtrack release for Jordan Peele's film, Us (Waxwork Records). She is Professor of Musicology and African American Studies at UCLA
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