Civil Rights Music at the White House

By | October 21, 2010

I don’t know how I missed this when it premiered, but this is a FANTASTIC survey of the music of the civil rights movement. President Obama’s introduction is top notch. Don’t miss Natalie Cole quoting Diane Nash on the power of nonviolence (starting at minute 14:15.) Following a short clip of MLK citing “The Old Negro Spiritual” Free At Last, the Blind Boys of Alabama sing the song. All of the music is wonderful, but I was especially moved by Bernice Johnson Reagon and the Freedom Singer’s feisty rendition of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round and Smokey Robinson’s heartfelt version of Abraham, Martin and John. The one misstep was ending with the whole ensemble singing Lift Every Voice And Sing (it was all too obvious that most of them didn’t know the words. Oops.)

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