I also believe that music can often provide a window into our history. As we're nearing the end of Black History Month, I'd like to take some time to reflect.
From Emmett Till, the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the Selma to Montgomery March, a big part of Black History Month is the Civil Rights Movement. A great way to learn, reflect, and get a glimpse of the challenges endured by black people during the Civil Rights Movement and see how far we have come is to look at the music of that time.
Music was extremely important during slavery (aka the start of Negro Spirituals) and it remained true for the civil rights era. During the Civil Rights Movement, music was used to motivate black people during marches, sit-ins, mass meetings, en-route to jail, on stage. It was used to protest racism, the brutality and lynchings of black people, and it was also used for strength in the face of harassment and brutality.
The five most notable songs of the Civil Rights Movement were:
1. We Shall Overcome
"We shall overcome, I do believe, some day...we'll leave in peace...we shall all be free"
2. Oh Freedom
"Oh freedom...before I'd be a slave...I'd be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be free..."
3. A Change Is Gonna Come
"I was born by the river...and I've been running ever since...it's been too hard living but I'm afraid to die...but I know a change gonna come...oh yes it is"
3. Strange Fruit
"...blood on the leaves and blood at the root...black bodies swinging in the southern breeze...the bulging eyes and the twisted mouth...the smell of burning flesh..."
"I shall not be moved...I'm on my way to glory land and I shall not be moved..."
1. Have any songs helped carry you through some tough times?
2. Can you name two songs that talk about social issues now?