Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. Through Music & Words

As social movements grow and activists are born, our nation is remembering the long and rich history of the Civil Rights movement—a memory and event that is classified as “history.” It’s past tense. It is not present. But recent history has shown us that it is still very much present. Protests around the nation over the past year remind us that the march on Washington D.C is not that far behind us.

While today’s activists use social media as their rallying point, our parents and grandparents had a different tool for coming together: song.

Music played a key role in the Civil Rights movement, pulling inspiration from the rich history of African American music and serving as a rallying cry.

“Jazz speaks for life,” King said. “The blues tell the story of life’s difficulties—and, if you think for a moment, you realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music.”

Enjoy this Martin Luther King Jr. Day playlist, complete with snippets from his speeches and civil rights era songs.

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