Sunday, August 25, 2013

Redeem The Dream : Songs of Civil Rights




The civil rights movement is marking the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous speeches in American history on the Mall in Washington today (Sunday August 25, 2013). But it wasn't always the spoken word that rallied the troops.

They endured beatings, fire hoses and arrests -- regular people who came together and changed a nation.

And through it all, there was song.

Historian Bernice Johnson Reagon was a leader of change -- a protester in her home state of Georgia -- before joining the Freedom Singers, which toured the country in 1963. They were up on stage for the March on Washington singing "We Shall Not Be Moved."


Reagon said the music also was a battle cry. Demonstrators were armed with song -- peaceful, yet still forceful and defiant. Even an old children's Sunday school song, "This Little Light of Mine" (Mavis Staples version above) became a protest.

Reagon said she didn't appreciate the song's power until she sang it in jail with other protesters after a mass arrest following a demonstration. MORE HERE

Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs 1960-1966 CD Available HERE

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