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Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

Actor Clarke Peters narrates a Soul Music special, telling the stories of the songs behind the civil rights movement to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King's death.

Actor Clarke Peters narrates a special edition of Soul Music marking fifty years since the assassination of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King on April 4th 1968.

"If in doubt, pray and sing" an activist recalls how music was used as part of Dr King's non-violent resistance movement.

This edition of Soul Music tells the stories of the songs behind the Civil Rights Movement including the spirituals and freedom songs that were integral to the struggle. In the 19th century, music became a tool for protest and resistance among the enslaved peoples of the American South. The programme hears the stories behind some of the most popular anthems and Freedom Songs that were later used as part of the civil resistance movement that eventually led to voting rights and desegregation. From Swing Low Sweet Chariot and We Shall Overcome to Amazing Grace, Strange Fruit and A Change Is Gonna Come, witnesses to and participants in the Civil Rights Movement recall how songs were such a vital part of the story.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

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45 minutes

Broadcasts

Why Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come' became a Civil Rights anthem

Watch the animation - Professor Mary King describes how the song became a symbol of hope.

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