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FEBRUARY - MAY, 2021

 

From Tragedy to Triumph is an interactive student-led series about the African diaspora told through discussion with film, dance, and music.

Organized 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.

 

Browse each event's reading list to learn more about the history and key themes they explore.

RSVP to attend the events on Zoom and take part in the live discussion, screening, musical performances, and a Q&A with the artists and performers.

 

Watch the series.

Watch previously-aired events in the series archive.

  • Part I: "The Middle Passage: Between Home and Death"

    Friday, Feb. 26

    6:00 p.m. (PST)

    “Let me tell you about this middle space - somewhere between home and death.” From Tragedy to Triumph presents an evening of conversation and art about the Middle Passage (approx. 1525-1866) and the melding of the past and the present, the reality of dehumanization and evil, and the sounds and smells that are inseparable from the soul during this journey. The first installment in a seven-part series will tell the story of this time in history through discussion, spoken word, narration, dance, and music featuring traditional Sinte drumming and music by celebrated composer Florence Price. The event will close with a Q&A session with the artists and performers led by USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy.

    RSVP to attend the event on Zoom and participate in the discussion and live Q&A. Viewers can watch the livestream of the event at thorntonlive.usc.edu without RSVP.

  • Part II: "The Spirit of My Home"

    Friday, March 12

    6:00 p.m. (PST)

    From Tragedy to Triumph presents “The Spirit of My Home,” an evening of conversation and art about the religious conversion of enslaved Africans to Christianity during the 17th Century. Part two of a seven-part series, this multi-generational story of spirituality and ancestral knowledge is told through a blend of animation, film and narration. The event will close with a Q&A session with the artists and performers led by USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy.

    RSVP to attend the event on Zoom and participate in the discussion and live Q&A. Viewers can watch the livestream of the event at thorntonlive.usc.edu without RSVP.

  • Part III: "White: You Strike. You Strip. You Steal."

    Friday, March 26

    6:00 p.m. (PST)

    Through animation, poetic interpretation and narration, the third installment of From Tragedy to Triumph presents “White: You Strike. You Strip. You Steal,” a multidisciplinary work of historical fiction about the harrowing cycle of family separation and the dehumanization of Black bodies during the Antebellum South (1783–1861). The event will open with a discussion with its creators and close with a Q&A session with the artists and performers led by USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy.

    RSVP to attend the event on Zoom and participate in the discussion and live Q&A. Viewers can watch the livestream of the event at thorntonlive.usc.edu without RSVP.

  • Part IV: "Emancipation Jubilee"

    Friday, April 9

    6:00 p.m. (PST)

    From Tragedy to Triumph presents a discussion and screening of a documentary about the events leading up to the Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction era. Part four of a seven-part series, the documentary will explore the influence of this period on today's political climate utilizing poetry, dance and music. The event will close with a Q&A session with the artists and performers and USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy.

    RSVP to attend the event on Zoom and participate in the discussion and live Q&A. Viewers can watch the livestream of the event at thorntonlive.usc.edu without RSVP.

  • Part V: "Surviving Jim Crow: The Healing Power of Music"

    Friday, April 23

    6:00 p.m. (PST)

    The fifth installment of From Tragedy to Triumph tells the story of the systemic violence of the Jim Crow Era (1880–1945) through the imagined portrait of Jack Smith, a fictional character representing the plight of millions of African Americans during this dark chapter of U.S. history. The fictional film tells the story of one man’s life under Jim Crow as he develops a love for jazz to help him survive the racism he experiences. The event will include a discussion and Q&A session with the film’s creators led by USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy.

    RSVP to attend the event on Zoom and participate in the discussion and live Q&A. Viewers can watch the livestream of the event at thorntonlive.usc.edu without RSVP.

  • Part VI: "The Civil Rights Movement: Snapshots of Everyday Life"

    Friday, May 7

    6:00 p.m. (PST)

    “The Civil Rights Movement: Snapshots of Everyday Life”  presents an oral history of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 70s, framing the daily experiences of living through this era of social justice and activism. The sixth part of this seven-part series features topics ranging from the war in Vietnam to housing discrimination and representation in the performing arts, with personal reflections and an expressive blend of jazz and archival footage. The event will include a discussion and Q&A session with the film’s creators led by USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy.

    RSVP to attend the event on Zoom and participate in the discussion and live Q&A. Viewers can watch the livestream of the event at thorntonlive.usc.edu without RSVP.

  • Part VII: "Call me Triumphant! Call me Black."

    Friday, May 21

    6:00 p.m. (PST)

    In the finale of this seven-part series, From Tragedy to Triumph presents an evening of art and performance that will amplify the embodied histories of Black women across different eras of U.S. history. Spanning centuries of the Black experience in America, the event will feature spoken word, dramatizations, choreography and music about the struggle for equality and justice. The event will close with a Q&A session with the artists and performers led by USC Thornton professor Ron McCurdy.

    RSVP to attend the event on Zoom and participate in the discussion and live Q&A. Viewers can watch the livestream of the event at thorntonlive.usc.edu without RSVP.P.

Watch the series.

Watch previously-aired events in the series archive.

From Tragedy to Triumph is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music with support from USC Visions & Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative.

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