Freedom Songs: Selma, Alabama

Freedom Songs: Selma, Alabama

Various Artists FW05594 / FH 5594

This documentary recording chronicles civil rights protesters singing during a march from Selma, Alabama, to the State Capitol in Montgomery, to demand fair access to voting registration. The songs express hope and sorrow and a call for equality, and many of them are traditional with lyrics adapted for the protests. There are no instruments, just the voices of the demonstrators and their leaders.

On February 18th, 1965, Jimmie Lee Jackson was fatally shot by an Alabama state trooper during a peaceful protest. The shooting inspired a march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7th. As the six hundred protesters reached the Edmund Pettus Bridge to cross the Alabama River, state troopers and local police blocked their path and ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, officers shot tear gas and beat some of the protesters with clubs. More than fifty people were hospitalized during the march, which became known as “Bloody Sunday.” A subsequent march on March 9th also was stopped, this time without violence; finally, later in March, a larger, better organized third march successfully reached Montgomery. Partially as a result of these protests, on August 6th, 1965, the U.S. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act.

This album was recorded and produced by Carl Benkert, who served as the night watchman for the marchers and made audio recordings of the third march. Benkert’s liner notes tell the story of the protesters, including lyrics to these powerful songs and riveting photographs of the march.

Year Released 1965
Record Label Folkways Records
Source Archive Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Copyright 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1965 Folkways Records
Genre(s) African American Music; American History; Struggle & Protest
Country(s) United States
Culture Group(s) African American
Language(s) English
Subject(s) Instructional; Spoken word; United States History; World history

Download Liner Notes

101 God Will Take Care of You / Climbing Jacob's Ladder (medley) Hosea Williams and Marchers 3:13
102 Steal Away, Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen Hosea Williams and Marchers 2:31
103 Come By Here Marchers 1:14
104 Berlin Wall Marchers 0:55
105 We Shall Not be Moved Marchers 2:01
106 Oh, Freedom Congregation of Brown Chapel 1:11
107 If You Miss Me From the Back of the Bus Congregation of Brown Chapel 1:02
108 Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed on Freedom Congregation of Brown Chapel 1:21
109 Which Side Are You On, Boy? / Keep Your Eye on the Prize (medley) James Orange and Protestors 2:39
110 Everybody Wants Freedom Demonstrators at March 0:41
111 Freedom Now Chant Demonstrators at March 0:35
112 Go Tell It on the Mountain / Which Side are You On, Boy? (medley) Demonstrators at March 4:29
201 Oh, Wallace Band 1 3:21
202 Get On Board Band 2 1:35
203 Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round Two little Girls at March 1:32
204 This Little Light of Mine / Which Side Are You On? / Freedom Now Chant / Come By Here (medley) Workers in Selma at Mass for Jimmie Lee Jackson 4:44
205 We Shall Overcome Workers in Selma at Mass for Jimmie Lee Jackson 4:52
206 Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round / Freedom, Freedom, Freedom / Oh Wallace (medley) James Orange and Youth 3:27
207 Which Side Are You On, Boy? James Orange and Youth 2:19
Comments powered by Disqus