The Widdershins

Archive for August 25th, 2013

Good Sunday, Widdershins,

This coming Thursday will mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice.  1963 was a tempestuous year for Americans.  The civil rights era was in progress, and there were ugly scenes on every evening news program.  The march was a culmination of efforts by a number of prominent African American leaders, although Dr. King is the best remembered.   A. Phillip Randolph and Bayard Rustin did much of the organizing, but MLK delivered his stirring “I have a dream” speech that day, and that speech almost immediately became part of the collective unconscious.

The music of the civil rights movement was a blend of many things – folk, rock, rhythm and blues, gospel and jazz all had a role in the unmistakable sound.  The sounds are rich, and self-encouraging, urging the singer to persist in the efforts despite all adversity. Granted, since I was in high school during the apex of the civil rights years, I have a much better recall of the music than those Widdershins either in pre-school or not yet born, but I honestly believe that the sounds are sufficiently iconic that all can participate.

I had a great deal of trouble paring my list down to acceptable limits, but here it is.  Please add your favorites in this otherwise open thread.

(1) We Shall Not Be Moved – Traditional, sung by Mavis Staple

(2) A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke, 1963

(3) People Get Ready – The Impressions, 1965

(4) The Times, They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan, 1964

(5)  Lift Every Voice and Sing – Traditional, sung by Aretha Franklin

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