Let’s Make a Better World: Stories and Songs by Jane Sapp

Let’s Make a Better World: Stories and Songs by Jane Sapp is a new resource for music educators, chorus leaders, activists and cultural workers. In it, the nationally admired cultural worker, musician, educator, and activist, Jane Wilburn Sapp, shares her approach to social transformation and its roots in African-American musical traditions. In the book, 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 her mentors. She shares 25 songs she has written with young people and sung with people of all ages, and tells the stories behind each song and offers suggestions or teachers and chorus leaders. The book also includes scores, and all of the songs can be heard on podcasts where Jane’s approach to cultural work is illuminated through conversations with activists, cultural workers, and music educators.

From the introduction, “If You Really Want to Know Me:”

Too often social change work focuses on what communities don’t have: there aren’t enough economic resources; the education system is not responsive; and racism keeps Black people from reaching their full potential. But I began to wonder what would have if we focus on what we do have rather that our deficient. We have each other, our songs, our stories, our imaginations, our experiences surviving and making ugly beautiful. We know how to make a way out of no way. – Jane Sapp, p. 25

*Purchase the book now!*

The songbook is co-sponsored by the Minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation, Brandeis University Library, the Office of the Dean of  Arts and Sciences, the Heller Office of the Dean and Sankofa Events, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Division of Creative Arts, the Department of African and African American Studies, the Department of Politics, and the Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice.

An evening of Songs and Stories with Jane Sapp (and friends)

Jane Sapp at pianoPlease come join the host committee for a spirited Friday the 13th

Henry Allen, Janet Axelrod, Linda Brion-Meisels, Betty Burkes, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Cynthia Cohen, Chuck Collins, Gordie Fellman, Alix Gordon and Sandy Lawrence, Catherine Hoffman, Jenny Ladd, Deborah Langstaff, Amy Merrill, Amelie Ratliff, and  JoAnne Silver Jones

to honor Jane Sapp – educator, musician, cultural activist and author

at the home of Amelie Ratliff

65 Burroughs St
Jamaica Plain, MA

Friday December 13, 7:00-9:00

Jane Sapp is a nationally admired cultural worker, musician, educator, and activist whose approach to social transformation is rooted in African American musical traditions. Through her singing, song gathering, work with communities of color and youth, Jane actively engages people in creative cultural processes, writing songs together, telling stories, shaping festivals, and designing museums of local culture.

This evening is an opportunity to support Jane directly
in the distribution of her new book/blog Let’s Make A Better World *
in chronicling her 5 decades of engagement for justice
in sustaining her activism

Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments served

* for general information and access to purchasing the book:  janesapp.org

RSVP please – the heart is huge but the space is limited. Email: amelie.ratliff@gmail.com

Please consider a donation even if you cannot attend.

Generous donations of all sizes welcome:
Tax-deductible contributions to support Jane Sapp to work on the dissemination of her book via PayPal Giving Fund.

Direct checks to Jane’s activism made out to J and H Fund, c/o Hoffman 67 Pleasant St. Cambridge, MA 02139


Watch a performance by Jane from September 2019 in DeKalb County, Georgia at an Interfaith Reconciliation Service “with roughly 200 people in attendance pledging to tell the truth about DeKalb’s history of racial injustices and to address issues that linger today.”

Image credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Video by Ryon Horne/AJC

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, “A choir of 35 people crowded around a piano as Jane Sapp played an old Negro spiritual that she gave modern arrangement. The power of the composition built as the choir blended in four-part harmony. ‘Ain’t you got a right to the tree of life?’ Sapp said before the service that the title of the song, which provides the framework for its repetitive lyrics, has always resonated with her. ‘It’s always been the fundamental question of this country when it comes to race,’ she said. ‘We must answer that question and act on that question and deliver the answer to that question that, ‘Yes, you’ve got a right.’” Watch now.