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looking for protest songs

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GUEST,aurore 26 May 09 - 05:13 PM
Susanne (skw) 26 May 09 - 05:38 PM
Emma B 26 May 09 - 05:51 PM
Azizi 26 May 09 - 06:07 PM
Peace 26 May 09 - 06:34 PM
oldhippie 27 May 09 - 05:15 PM
Stringsinger 27 May 09 - 05:31 PM
breezy 27 May 09 - 08:29 PM
Mark Ross 27 May 09 - 11:34 PM
FreddyHeadey 05 Jan 23 - 05:53 PM
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Subject: lookinf for protest songs
From: GUEST,aurore
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:13 PM

Hi evrybody,

I am a french student and I am doing my master of art. The subject of my master is 'Music in the Civil Rights Movement, from 1955 to 1968'. I amm looking for some help. Indeed, I would like to know if somebody can help me to find songs from black performers AND white performers.
It would help me so much!!

Thank you

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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:38 PM

Aurore, for a start, you might try searching the DT song collection and the Forum for key words like 'Civil Rights Movement' (though this will also bring up a number of threads on the Northern Ireland 'Troubles'). The search box is in the top right hand corner.

Mudcat has a number of members who were actively involved in the period you are researching and its music. Stringsinger comes to mind. If he doesn't find the thread soon I'll send him a PM. (You have to be a member to do that.)

Good luck for your thesis!

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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: Emma B
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:51 PM

aurore, I have a copy of Oak Publications 'We Sahll Overcome' the songs of the Soutern Freedom Movement (1963) I would recommend that if you can get a copy or would be happy to forward anything on

I also have the 'Carry it On' book by Pete Seeger and Bob Reiser - A history in song and picture of the working men and women of America which was published in 1985/6 I think in the UK but covers a much earlier period with a wider remit

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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:07 PM

Hello, aurore

Here's a page from my website that contains the words to a number of civil rights songs and additional information about those songs:

That page also includes the following links to these YouTube videos:

Video Links To Civil Rights Songs

Ruthie Foster - Woke Up This Mornin'


Odetta - A tribute to the Voice of the Civil Rights Movement

Joan Baez -Marching up to freedom land


Also, here's a link to an old Mudcat thread on this subject which may be of help to you:
Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs


Btw, I'm an African American woman who wasn't very active in the civil rights movement. Besides the large March On Washington, I only participated in one other freedom demonstration. But I learned many of those songs because of my membership in the youth branch of my city's NAACP organization. Unfortunately, these songs aren't well known to most Black or non-Black youth today.

Best wishes,


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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: Peace
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:34 PM

Someone's 'top ten'

Juke box music

Site of a dear friend and great researcher

Another top ten, but with videos

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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: oldhippie
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:15 PM

Don't forget the Smithsonian Folkways music of the winds of change - the Civil Rights Movement recording.

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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:31 PM

Check out the recordings put out by Guy and Candie Carawan. You can probably
google them.

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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: breezy
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:29 PM

Pete Seeger sung these, plus others of course

If you miss me at the back of the bus

we shall overcome

Oh freedom

Josh White's 'If your white your alright but If your Black, brother get back'

Well its a start

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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: Mark Ross
Date: 27 May 09 - 11:34 PM

BLACK BROWN & WHITE is a Big Bill Broonzy song.

"If you're white you're allright,
IF you're brown, stick around,
But if you're black, Oh Brother,
Get Back, Get Back, Get Back."

I first heard it on a 3 LP set THE FOLK BOX isssued in '64 or '65 by Elektra Records & Folkways.

Mark Ross

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Subject: RE: looking for protest songs
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 05 Jan 23 - 05:53 PM

December 2022 - Only available for a limited time
but it might(should?) be repeated sometime.

A short BBC series -stories of protest, politics and diplomacy behind jazz.

The Truth about Jazz - 2022 - BBC World Service & R4

The roots of jazz
Clive Myrie charts the early roots of jazz in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The programme visits the jazz museum in New Orleans and hears about the early jazz pioneers like Buddy Bolden.
Clive meets Robert Meeropol, the adopted son of Abel Meeropol who wrote the original poem that Billie Holiday's seminal protest song Strange Fruit was based on.
He also hears the story behind the 1929 song Black and Blue. Mercedes Ellington remembers Black, Brown and Beige - her grandfather Duke Ellington’s 1943 creation for his first concert at Carnegie Hall.

Jazz and diplomacy
He hears about Louis Armstrong's struggle with racism and meets musician Charles McPherson, who worked with the legendary jazz composer Charles Mingus - and discusses Fables of Faubus, one of Mingus's most explicitly political works. The song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, who in 1957 sent out the National Guard to prevent racial integration at Little Rock Central High School.
Clive also remembers the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing which killed four children in September 1963. Veteran jazz musician Reggie Workman tells him how the attack led John Coltrane to write Alabama two months after the bombing.
Clive also looks at how America's global radio service Voice of America began using jazz as a way of improving US diplomatic relations.

The voice of America
Clive Myrie hears more about how jazz was used as a form of 'soft power' by the American establishment, via Voice of America radio broadcasts beyond the Iron Curtain. The State department was persuaded to send America’s biggest stars overseas to promote US music, and the tours would bring jazz to new audiences all over the world.
The programme looks at how Martin Luther King inspired jazz musicians in life and death.
Clive hears how a 16-year-old Danny Scher persuaded Thelonius Monk to play to a predominantly white audience at his high school in California in the late 60s.

Jazz and protest   
He hears how it clashed with the Nazis in World War Two and how people used jazz to cope with life in the concentration camps.
There's the story of John Coltrane's big composition in Japan and Clive remembers how jazz became a huge part of the fight to end apartheid in South Africa.
There's recollections from Dave Brubeck's son Chris and Darius before the series heads back to where everything began - at the home of the ‘father of jazz’, Buddy Bolden, in New Orleans.

Producers: Ashley Byrne and Wayne Wright.

The Truth About Jazz is a Made in Manchester Production, originally produced for the BBC World Service.

And a couple of BBC pages linking to associated programmes including at least a couple of music related ones.

"I Have a Dream"
A collection of programmes and content marking Black History Month.

Britain's Black Past
Professor Gretchen Gerzina explores a largely unknown past, the lives of black people who settled in Britain in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

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