Throughout history, protest songs have inspired and celebrated social change. ONE’s agit8 project harnesses the power of protest songs to inspire a new generation to join the protest of our lifetime: extreme poverty.
Listen to Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ mashed up with a quick history of the American Civil Rights movement.
I was born by the river in a little tent the modern US civil rights struggle was born by the Potomac river in Washington DC Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ever since 1954 Brown v. The Board of Education declared segregation in schools unconstitutional It’s been a long, a long time coming Slavery had been outlawed since the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1865 But I know a change gonna come ‘Jim Crow’ laws mandated separate public facilities for black and white people in many southern states for almost a century Oh yes it will over the next 14 years, repeated efforts were made to overturn these laws
I go to the movie and I go downtown like Rosa Parks in 1955, who sat down on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama Somebody keep telling me, “Don’t hang around” she did hang around – she refused to give up her seat for a white man
It’s been a long, a long time coming others had made the same protest before, but Rosa Parks’ action caught the attention of the nation But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will after the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott, local buses were desegregated in 1956
Then I go to my brother four students staged a sit-in at a “whites only” lunch counter in North Carolina And I say, “Brother, help me please” in the following days, sit-ins soon spread across the region But he winds up knockin’ me, Back down on my knees although good for civil rights, there were violent reactions to the sit-ins
Oh there been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long but not on that day in 1963 when 250,000 people attended the March on Washington But now I think I’m able to carry on after hearing Martin Luther King deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech there It’s been a long, a long time coming the 1964 Civil Rights Act banned discrimination based on race or religion But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will challenges remain, but in 2008, the U.S. elected a black president…
Listen to more iconic protest songs re-imagined by artists like Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran and Green Day on the agit8 platform.
‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ Written by Sam Cooke. Published by ABKCO Music Limited.