A. Loudermilk


American pianist, vocalist, songwriter, and activist Nina Simone (1933-2003) played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement and yet many historical accounts of the era have snubbed her. Bringing into clearer focus the intense and problematic commitment of Simone’s identity as a musician to the protest identity of the Civil Rights Movement, this essay will examine Simone as an icon, her songs in historical context, and her audiences over the years. Her concerts, which continued until the last year of her life, make for a fascinating public record of her turbulent relationship with fans during and after the turbulent 1960s.

Author Biography

A. Loudermilk comes from a working-class town in southernmost Illinois and now teaches in Baltimore at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). His poetry collection Strange Valentine won The Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award; individual poems can be found in reviews like Assaracus, Gargoyle, Smartish Pace, and Tin House. He’s also a cultural critic with his own website, Quirky Cinema, and essays in Bright Lights Film Journal, Journal of Consumer Culture, Polari, PopMatters, River Teeth, and Tran(s)tudies.