Let's Make a Better World

Stories and Songs by Jane Sapp

Jane Sapp and Cynthia Cohen

Jane Sapp is a nationally admired cultural worker, musician, educator, and activist whose approach to social transformation is rooted in African American musical traditions and made available here as a resource for communities around the world. Jane actively engages people in creative cultural processes, writing songs together, telling stories, shaping festivals, and designing museums of local culture. In this volume, Jane tells the story of her childhood, nurtured by the Black community while living in the brutal world of the Jim Crow South. She describes her participation in the Black Power movement and introduces us to mentors who shaped her path to becoming a cultural worker. She shares the songs she has written with young people and has sung with people of all ages. She tells the stories behind each song and offers suggestions for teachers and chorus leaders. This book is an inspiration and an affirmation for cultural workers, activists, artists, and justice-seekers. At the same time, its stories, music scores, and accompanying podcast episodes make it a practical resource for educators, chorus leaders, and others seeking to engage with the power of music, and the arts more generally, as they join with communities to make a better world.

Paper: $29.95
ISBN-13: 9781512603552
Pages: 152 | Size: 8 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: March 15, 2019

Jane Sapp is a musical and cultural power. Her work in the field as a cultural organizer is only matched by what happens when she explodes on stage.

Bernice Johnson Reagon


  • Jane Sapp is a musical and cultural power. Her work in the field as a cultural organizer is only matched by what happens when she explodes on stage.

    Bernice Johnson Reagon
    founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock
  • The new national standards for music include Creating, Performing, Responding, and Connecting. Jane’s approach activates every one of these processes. This book is perfect for music educators.

    Sandra Nicolucci
    professor emeritus, Boston University
  • In this political moment when so much has been challenged, we are going to have to reach deep for the things of the spirit. Songs like ‘Ain’t You Got a Right?’ have tremendous power. We have to ask that question and sing that song a lot.

    Suzanne Pharr
    former director of the Highlander Center
  • Jane is an awesome songwriter and cultural worker, and an unselfish one. She always looks for opportunities to bring people together. That’s what it’s going to take to get through this era that seems hopeless for so many.

    Faya Ora Rose Touré (Rose Sanders)
    founder of the National Voting Rights Museum

About the Author

Jane Sapp

Jane Sapp is a cultural worker, musician, educator, and activist, who, through stories and songs, energizes communities to imagine and dare to create the world where they want to live.

Cynthia Cohen

As director of the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, Cynthia Cohen lead action and reflection research projects, and wrote and taught about work at the nexus of the arts, culture, justice and peace. Cohen directed the Brandeis University/Theatre Without Borders collaboration Acting Together on the World Stage, co-edited the Acting Together anthologies and co-created the project’s documentary and toolkit. She directs ReCAST Inc., a nonprofit organization partnering with …

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