Archive for the ‘Music’ Category


Monday, February 18th, 2013


Sunday, February 17th, 2013


Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Born on September 23, 1926 in North Carolina, John Coltrane was a jazz musician. Prior to World War Two he studied music at the Ornstein School of Music in Philadelphia. In the war Coltrane was stationed in Hawaii and played in the United States Navy Band. He felt that music was an instrument to create positive thoughts in the minds of people which the civil rights movement used to its advantage. Jazz as a genre was used during the civil rights movement to speak about issues. Its power came from the public perception that it was a strictly black form of music, which gave jazz a unique voice in the art world and the civil rights movement. “Alabama” was recorded on November 28th, in response to the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham that occurred two months prior to its recording. One week after its debut President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was different from other music related to the movement because it did not have lyrics to convey its message. The tone of the song as well as its timing is what gives it power to represent the feeling of the civil rights movement.

Civil Rights Anthem

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

The role of music during the Civil Rights Movement had a major impact on the progress of attaining civil rights. Many songs evolved from already made hymns and gospel songs. “We Shall Overcome” and “This Little Light of Mine” were two well known gospel songs and heavily impacted the movement. These two songs, along with others, captured the essence of the movement. They allowed people involved and affected by the movement to turn their experience into songs, while having a lasting effect in society.

Many texts on music during the Civil Rights Movement label “We Shall Overcome” the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, with the Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History naming it the “unofficial theme song of the freedom movement” (Palmer 2456).  Along with other songs categorized with this soul or gospel music, “We Shall Overcome” was a protest song and was especially associated with sit-ins and the freedom rides. Quoted in Lyndon B. Johnson’s address to Congress concerning voting rights, this made the Selma March and Motown more visible in the society.

The Selma-Montgomery March was a march made from Selma to Montgomery in hopes of gaining voting rights. Motown became more visible during these marches, which in turn allowed gospel music to be heard and become prominent in the movement.

In his article “Freedom Songs and the Modern Civil Rights Movement,” David Hsiung recalls someone who worked for SNCC saying these songs helped to think about freedom more often (Hsiung 23). These songs became expressive of the entire black community, allowed individualism, while also becoming unified. “We Shall Overcome” was a “protest” song mainly because it was expressive of the hopefulness that segregation and the lack of voting rights would cease to exist in the near future. These songs became famous for their symbolic role of nonviolence during the Civil Rights Movement and offered more incentives and hope for people who weren’t as involved to become more involved in the attainment of civil rights.