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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Song Playlist: the Civil Rights Movement and #blacklivesmatter

updated February 19, 2021



Continuing the series of playlists on mindfulness, compassion, and values-based teaching, here's a selection of songs that inspired and are inspired by the civil rights movement and the movement for black lives.

As always, please watch the full video and listen to or read the full lyrics before deciding what's appropriate for your own classroom. (Think about the age and background of your students, and how they might react to certain words and images.)

At the end of the post, I've included links to more playlists and teaching resources about the music of the civil rights movement.





American Dream, Willie Jones
lyrics; official video
"Young man, if you don't know your roots then you don't know what you stand for. Proud to be a black man livin' in the land of the brave and the free. Yeah, I'm all-American, and that American dream ain't cheap. We've come a long way. Still got a long way to go. When you're livin' as a black man it's a different kinda 'merican dream."







Breathe; india.arie
official video
lyrics





Better Than We Found It, Maren Morris
lyricsofficial video (ends with a message to her baby son about the kind of role model she wants to be for him)






A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke

live performance by Jennifer Hudson
Sam Cooke official lyric video
lyrics




Dear Hate, Maren Morris (feat. Vince Gill)
audiolyrics




Eyes on the Prize, Mavis Staples
lyrics






FIGHT!Wyatt Wadeell 
official video
lyrics








From the Plantation to the Penitentiary, Wynton Marsalis 
recording with album cover
instrumental











The Freedom Rider, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
audio with album cover
instrumental







2020 Riots: How Many TimesTrey Songz
official video
lyrics






I Can't Breathe
, Dietrick Haddon

official video
lyrics







I Can't Breathe, H.E.R 
official video
audio (on youtube)
lyrics








I Can't Breathe
, Maino

official video








I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free), Nina Simone 
audio with album cover
lyrics






Lift Every Voice and Sing
a cappella version by Committed
instrumental version by black orchestral musicians
dance solo by Khalia Campbell of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater








March on Selma, Blue Mitchell
video (audio + album cover)
instrumental






Somebody's Beloved, MILCK ft. Bipolar Sunshine




We Gotta Pray, Alicia Keys
official video
lyrics







Wake Up Everybody, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

audio + album cover
lyrics
video of John Legend and the Roots (ft. Melanie Fiona, Common)
video of Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Wyclef Jean, and Ashanti 








We Shall Overcome

a cappella performance by the Aeolians from Oakton University
a cappella performance (Amen/We Shall Overcome) by Shades from Yale University
We Shall Overcome: Love Will Rise Again by Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod 




Here are a few good sources for more songs about the civil rights movement and the movement for black lives:




Here are a few teaching resources on the importance of music in the Civil Rights Music:






Catharine Hannay is the founder of MindfulTeachers.org and the author of Being You: A Girl’s Guide to Mindfulness, a workbook for teen girls on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance. (Sales of the book help me continue to run MindfulTeachers.org with no sponsorship or advertising.)





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