The La Salle Falconer

  • Welcome to The La Salle Falconer: Your student news source for La Salle Catholic College Prep

  • Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @lasallefalconer

  • Send us letters to the editor at [email protected]

Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

Liam Rinehart, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On this day, 53 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began the historic third march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama.

Over 3,000 civil rights activists set out on foot from Selma down the 54-mile highway to the state capital of Montgomery. Unlike the first two marches, where demonstrators had been beaten and turned away by Alabama police, Dr. King and company were escorted by the Alabama National Guardsmen and FBI agents to ensure safe travel.

In honor of Dr. King and black activists, here are nine influential protest songs, spanning the last several decades. 

911 is a Joke 

Public Enemy’s 1990’s hit, from their album Fear of a Black Planet, is about the incredibly slow response times of paramedics in black neighborhoods. Flavor Flav says the idea for the song came to him when his friend died, after what should have been a 6 minute emergency response time took 26 minutes.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 

Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” was born out of the eruption of student protests in the 70’s across the United States. These protests were met with unnecessary deadly force in multiple instances, such as the Kent State Shootings and the Jackson State killings. The song title alludes to the idea that there will be no one at home to watch the revolution, because everyone will be a part of it.

The Message 

Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five tell the truth about the inner city in the rhythmic 80’s hip-hop hit, “The Message.” This is another example of rap artists speaking artfully about topics of social significance, and having their voices heard by topping the charts.

Strange Fruit 

Billie Holiday’s incredibly powerful performance of a poem originally written by Abel Meeropol explores American racism. The poem more specifically protests the widespread lynching of African Americans in the South.

Fight the Power 

“Fight the Power” was released at the start of the 90’s amid extreme racial tension. The economy was struggling, crack was running rampant through many communities, and police continued to harass African Americans everywhere. “Fight the Power” became a unifying song of the streets.

Baltimore 

Prince’s magnificent tribute song to Freddie Gray is made even better by the docu-style video accompanying it.

Behind 

Tracy Chapman’s “Behind the Wall” focuses on the experience of women who are the victims of domestic assault. It also notably mentions the late response time of police to such incidents.

Glory 

A song written specifically for the “Selma” movie, John Legend’s gospel-infused song strikes a perfect tone for the movie, while also serving as a modern day protest song.

Hell you Talmbout 

Janelle Monáe’s scalding protest song is nearly seven minutes of looped drum track with the only lyrics being the names of African Americans killed by police and vigilantes.

***

Is there a protest song that you know about that should have been included here? Let us know in the comments below.

Creative Commons photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/skey/233049794

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Writer
Liam Rinehart, Staff Reporter

Liam is a sophomore at La Salle with frosted tips. He prides himself in his finger painting prowess, as well his bottle cap collection. He hopes to one day be the President of the United States.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
1 Comment

One Response to “Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs”

  1. Alex Fiedler on March 22nd, 2018 8:28 pm

    “Killing In The Name” by Rage Against the Machine is another great protest song. It has controversial lyrics and explicit language, but its outcry against police brutality and institutional racism is powerful and still very relevant today.

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Let us know what you think about this story by submitting a comment below. Comments are moderated, and won't appear until they are approved. An email address is required, but won't be publicly displayed.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    App Reviews

    The Hunt: The Cure for Style Envy

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    Entertainment

    Eight Stunning Songs From Movie Soundtracks

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    Entertainment

    From Billie Eilish to Travis Scott: 10 Upcoming Concerts in the Portland Area That You Don’t Want to Miss

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    Entertainment

    “Come Back to Earth”: A Look Back at Mac Miller’s Life and Legacy

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    App Reviews

    Four Apps That Will Improve Your Life

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    Entertainment

    “Eighth Grade”: An Eerily Accurate Flashback to Early Adolescence

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    Entertainment

    Entertainment Update: The Cardi B and Nicki Minaj Feud

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    Entertainment

    Seven Chill Songs to Ease You Into the New School Year

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    Entertainment

    Shak’s Last Summer Playlist

  • Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs

    Entertainment

    Music Review: Kyle’s “Light of Mine” Is Emotional and Incomplete

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.
Selma to Montgomery: Nine Famous Protest Songs