The town of Peekskill, New York was thrust into the national limelight, over a controversial concert featuring influential African-American singer, actor and Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson today (September 4, 1949).
Source: Who knew that playing music and games could be a great medicine? People who have had strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities that impact their hands can utilize a technology created by Flint Rehabilitation Devices called the MusicGlove. Certain rehabilitation clinics and people with nerve damage to their hands have been using the FDA approved device.
The MusicGlove aims to help people with a number of hand related injuries.
The MusicGlove is a device that a patient wears to help improve certain movements, as well as gripping. In addition to those with serious injuries, the MusicGlove could be handy for a number of musicians, who frequently suffer pain from playing the piano, the bass, the guitar, or producing on a keyboard.
“Engaging with music offers a form of therapy that will keep users motivated to continue their rehabilitation regimen, and facilitates a user’s hand’s ability to recover after a stroke,” said Nizan Friedman, Ph.D., president and co-founder of Flint Rehabilitation Devices, LLC. “As music is naturally highly repetitive, people using MusicGlove typically make over 2,000 movements in a 45 minute session. In rehab, the number of repetitions is one of the most important factors for regaining hand function. Users involved in clinical studies with the device love MusicGlove and are laughing, singing along, and enjoying the experience while seeing measurable results in a short period of time.”
A closer look at the software associated with the MusicGlove reveals a setup similar to the world-famous game "Guitar Hero." Like the "Guitar Hero" concept, the user has to continuously make the right movements in order to move to a new level. The game keeps an accurate track of how the patient is doing and sets daily goals for them.
Instead of sticking to the traditional therapy of using rubber bands and stress balls, patients who used MusicGlove saw improvements in just two weeks.
"The glove senses when you make different grips like a key pinch grip or a pencil grip and you use that to play a really engaging musical computer game so your practicing hand grips and playing music at the same time," said Dr. David Reinkensmeyer, professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California in Irvine.
The home version of the MusicGlove can be purchased for a total of $1,149.00 (or $99.00 a month for twelve months) while the clinical version starts at $4,199.00. The home version comes with a touch screen console, connector cables, custom MusicGlove headphones and one MusicGlove.
Paul Robeson was supposed to perform at a benefit concert on August 27, but protests over his race and political views resulted in two riots between August 27 and September 4.
In 1922, Paul Robeson became the first African-American All-American Football Player, when he suited up for Rutgers, before earning a degree in law from Columbia University.
Robeson eventually turned to singing, where he found fame in the role of “Othello” on Broadway, while also landing a hit with “Old Man River” from the 1927 musical “Showboat.” During World War II, Paul Robeson embraced the Soviet Union while chastising America for its treatment of African-Americans.
As the Cold War began in 1949, Paul Robeson caused an uproar when he denounced “the policy of the United States government which is similar to Hitler and Goebbels…”
“It is unthinkable that American Negros would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union which in one generation has lifted our people to full human dignity,” a defiant Robeson said way back then.
The comments were strong and revolutionary, considering the tense-post World War II climate in the country.
By 1949, Robeson had stopped entertaining publicly but chose to do this performance at the request of the Civil Rights Congress, which the Attorney General had labeled a “subversive group.”
The concert was set for August 27, but riots broke out in which camp chairs and books were burned, concertgoers were attacked, and a cross was burned on a hillside.
The concert was reorganized for September 4 at the Hollow Brook Golf Course in Cortlandt Manor.
Over 20,000 people showed up to the concert, which was secured by 900 police officers, emergency vehicles, and a helicopter. Another 2,000 men created a shield around the concert area.
Others flanked Paul Robeson on the stage to secure his safety against the 5,000 protesters who also showed up.
During the concert, Paul Robeson sang songs like “Go Down Moses” and “What America Means to Me,” while singers like Pete Seeger, Woodie Guthrie and Lee Hays also gave performances.