My humanities moment comes in the form a song called “Inner City Blues,” by Marvin Gaye. The song was released in 1971 and it was a vocal illustration of the widening gap of inequality, racial instability, and social hardship endured by Black Americans in urban cities.

I had heard the popular songs by Gaye before, but I had never really listened to his catalog in full. So when I finally heard “Inner City Blues,” I immediately knew what he was talking about because I was able to witness similar things in my hometown, I just did not have the words. But this song helped me put my hometown into perspective and look deeper into the history of Sacramento (California). This song inspired my master’s thesis on displacement and gentrification in Sacramento. And it helped be further understand the place I come from. “Inner City Blues” also inspired me to develop a travel exhibit that depicts change over time in Sacramento throughout all of its’ cycles of rebirth, death, and redevelopment as a city.

– Ari Green (Ph.D. Student and Archival Processing Assistant)