Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Kenneth Chamberlain. Amadou Diallo. John Crawford.

These African-American men–each killed by police or by authority figures–are the subject of a powerful multi-movement choral work by Atlanta-based composer Joel Thompson titled Seven Last Words of the Unarmed.  The piece was recently premiered by the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club under the direction of Dr. Eugene Rogers, associate director of choirs and professor of conducting at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Though over one hundred black men have been murdered in the last decade, this website only focuses on seven whose last words most align with the text structure of the composition.

Educational Resources

High school, university, community groups and professional organizations can engage with complex issues of race and violence through free use of the Michigan Media award-winning documentary Love, Life & Loss and discussion guides. Simply create a username and password to gain unlimited access to the video and educational materials for use in the classroom or community gatherings.