The Civil Rights Movement took place between 1954 and 1968 (Wikipedia) and fought to give African Americans their necessary rights. The beginning of the film goes into the segregation that occurred in the deep south, mainly Mississippi and Alabama. This period was a very difficult time and music was an outlet to share ideas and also as a way to feel connected with other people.
The film interviews African Americans who lived through this Civil Rights period and they share their experiences with music and their hardships. The songs in the film are very spiritual and reflect the ideas of freedom. They include rebellious songs that empower many people and gives them the confidence to pursue their dreams. The music during this movement gave people an identity. It reflects the future and has hopeful tones. They sung about overcoming the adversity and what the future could hold. Some songs later became known as songs of the movement and reflected their journey.
To me, many of the songs sounded like stereotypical gospel songs that would be sung in churches. They were full of energy and spirit and told stories. The lyrics were meaningful and got people riled up to fight the cause. Many of the songs were later known as coming from this period in time, and I think this is very reflective of the capacity they held over people and others even knowing their meaning.
You can never take songs away from the people, and music was a way for them to share their souls. Songs and music were modes of communications and were ways for people to express themselves. Music unites people and gives everyone a common ground to gather together; it forms a community where everyone is accepted.
I can’t imagine living through this period in history. I think it’s so important to learn about the past and hear everyone’s points of view. It’s so hard to imagine some of the stories told, but it was a serious part of history and it’s necessary to hear all of these stories. I loved hearing how music was a method for people to survive. It gave people a light and a means to come together and fight for each other. Community is everything and the power behind them is incredible.
A singer that came out of this era was Aretha Franklin. Her song “Respect” was a prominent song for the Women’s Movement and is another example of how music can unit a front and bring about change. It is so empowering and is still very well known today.