By Students of Manual Arts Senior High School
Foreword by John Legend
This year’s theme was inspired by the sounds and lyrics that have sharpened visions of freedom throughout generations. Beginning in February 2019, 826LA partnered with two teachers at Manual Arts High School and their classes to write personal essays guided by the question, “What makes you feel free?” Using their own music selections to create the Freedom Mixtape. This year’s authors wrote how freedom or the journey to find freedom impacts their lives.
In spirit with the Mississippi Freedom Schools created in 1964, and their approach to invigorate critical and creative thinking by bringing music into curriculum, students will begin writing with their headphones on and their pencils moving to the beats of their freedom song. They will delve into a legacy of artists, from Nina Simone to Kendrick Lamar, to learn from artists that write about freedom in rhyme and across decades.
At the end of the project, students compiled a professionally published book designed by verynice in Los Angeles, comprised of personal essays that resounds with their tenacious pursuits and visions.