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Stax Music History

In 1954, Linda Brown, an eight-year-old African-American girl, had been denied permission to attend an elementary school only five blocks from her home in Topeka, Kansas. Her parents filed a lawsuit to force the schools to admit her to the nearby, but segregated, school for white students. Finally, Chief Justice Warren gave the verdict saying that, “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal…. Segregation [in public education] is a denial of the equal protection of the laws. August 24, 1955, fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was visiting his relatives in Money, Mississippi, when e was accused of flirting with a white cashier at a grocery store. Four days later, two white men kidnapped him, beat him, and shot him in the head. The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male Jury acquitted them. Later that December a woman named Rosa Parks was arrested, because she would not give up her seat in the front of the bus, to a white man. This led to the start of the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott and the rise of heroic leader, Dry. Martin Luther King Jar.

August 28, 1963, two to three hundred thousand people marched in Washington D. C. Where Dry. Martin Luther King gave his famous “l Have a Dream” speech. As a result, African Americans were finally rewarded their rights. These events influenced African American artists through their music to express their feelings towards the way their people were being treated. Due to this, different songs were wrote and recorded to help support the Civil Rights Movement. The two most influenced genres were Jazz and Gospel/ Spirituals. Cornet player Louis Armstrong recorded a song titled “(What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue? ” in 1929.

This song contained the lyrics, “My only sin is my skin. What did I do to be so black and blue? ” Billie Holiday, another Jazz artist, added the song “Strange Fruit” to her set list after the lynching of two blacks. Her lyrics contained the phrases, “Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck, for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, for the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, here is a strange and bitter crop. ” In 1960 The Nashville Quartet recorded the spiritual Mimi Better Leave Segregation Alone” with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. “Which Side are You On” and “We Shall Overcome” both by The Freedom Singers was also recorded with

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Not to mention, the spiritual “Lift Every Voice” which later became the “Negro National Anthem. ” All these songs were written to enforce the Civil Rights of African Americans. The Star Records Company also played a role during this time. Numerous artist recorded songs that were connected to the Civil Rights Movement. At Star, the artist didn’t care about segregation. They still song played together, because race didn’t matter to them. The popular group, The Staple known singer, Otis Redding was the first to record the song, “Respect. ” Later he recorded the song “Soul Man.

Soul Man” stood out as an example of respect for racial diversity. One last group, Booker T. And The MGM created more instrumental songs then lyrical. Two of these songs include “A Change is Goanna Come” and “Born off Bad Sign. I feel that these songs were very helpful to this era, because it allowed musicians and song writers to express how they felt about the Civil Rights Movement. The songs were inspirational and gave people hope. There were a lot of ups and downs throughout this movement. Whenever people felt like giving up, this music was words of encouragement for them.

The Civil Rights Movement was a political movement against racial segregation and discrimination. African Americans were mistreated, but instead of quitting they decided to fight for their rights. As the years progressed, African Americans got closer and closer to reaching their goal of racial equality. Over time, different music artists began to produce songs that expressed the way they felt towards racism. These songs also gave people hope. Finally, after years of fighting and protesting, they won their freedom. It is because of our grandparents and great grandparents that we live in our societies the way we do today.

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