Folk, blues, and gospel musicians created an inspiring soundtrack for the Civil Rights Movement. By lifting up a message in a collective voice and harmonizing with those around them, activists energized the public and encouraged support of their causes. Songs of hope, power, and freedom were often sung in unison by peaceful protestors, reflecting a shared vision of racial equity. These unifying songs implored citizens and legislators to make changes in implicit and systemic racism in our society.
The songbooks featured on this page and the select songs included are a small sample of the music that led the way to change.
Video interview with Bob Santelli, founding executive director of the GRAMMY Museum, about the Obama White House presentation of "Music of the Civil Rights Movement."
Program - From the Obama White House Music Series "A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement," February 2010.
Courtesy of Bob Santelli.
In celebration of the Music of the Civil Rights Movement, President and Mrs. Obama presented a musical event on February 10, 2010 as part of their White House Music Series. Bob Santelli was one of the producers of the event, and in a special interview for this exhibit, he shares his memories about the program.