Music during Civil Rights Movement

      Comments Off on Music during Civil Rights Movement

Mississipi Goddam

“Mississipi Goddam” was a very popular song during the Civil Rights Movement. Simone has a beautiful voice and her lyrics capture the anger of many African Americans during this time. The song was originally performed to an all-white audience at Carnegie¬†Hall. Her performance was following the 16th Street Baptist church bombing in which children were killed and the racially motivated assassination of a fellow Civil Rights activist, Medgar Evers. The song captures Simone’s feeling during this time, which were often felt by other African Americans. “Mississippi Goddam” touches on the time of slavery, school boycotts and the overall treatment of African Americans in the south during the Civil Rights Movement. The listeners of the song can hear the pain in her voice as the song ultimately tells her story of discrimination and the political issues felt by African Americans, especially within the south. In the last verse, Simone leaves the listener with a powerful message “You don’t have to live next to me, just give me my equality, everyone knows about Mississippi Goddam”. By ending the song like this, Simone puts her views on the time on full display. Clearly, others felt the same as it was one of the most popular songs of the era.

We Shall Overcome Live At March On Washington

This video shows the live performance of Joan Baez, singing “We Shall Overcome” at the March on Washington on August 28th, 1963. While the song has many renditions and has evolved over time, this performance by Joan Baez is very powerful. The March on Washington was a way for African Americans to advocate for their civil rights and is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The march was very impactful and showed that the movement had gained a lot of momentum and had a real chance of achieving¬†equal rights for African Americans in the United States. Baez’s performance at the March was a call for action to enact change in America and unite African Americans and whites. The video captures the crowd singing along, white and black, and the lyrics beautifully illustrate the dream of racial equality in America. Baez was able to unite the crowd and empower all of the fellow marchers with an inspirational song. White and African Americans singing along to the song, is evidence that the song was not only displaying the political views of the public but actually helping enact change within the United States. The song captured the atmosphere of the movement and in a real sense, was a part of the Civil Rights Movement.

To Feel Free: What It’s About

In this magazine article, written by B.J. Phillips in the Atlanta Constitution, a Georgia newspaper. This article is a review of a live performance of Nina Simone in 1968. Phillips describes the atmosphere of the stadium, when Simone came on stage, saying the air got hot. In 1968, the Civil Rights Act had already been passed, but the fire under Nina Simone was still burning. The singer was known for her beautiful voice, as well as her Civil Rights Activism. Phillips in the article raves about how Simone’s music was controversial and led to backlash. The stadium seemed to feel the same way, as they cheered for her even after she left the stage. And one girl was quoted in saying, “I feel free when she sings, that’s what it’s all about”. This quote is very powerful, as the Civil Rights Act was passed multiple years previously, but its Simone’s music that makes her feel free. Simone’s politically charged songs were not only enjoyable for the ears but also inspired the public to enact change. Her music captured the views of the public and gives them “freedom” even if it is only for a few minutes.