Your daily listen: because Black History Month is all year round

By: Britt Harvey

Though Black History Month (February) has come and gone, I’d argue there’s no ‘right’ time of year to celebrate songs that discuss and acknowledge the Civil Rights Movement and race relations.

In the spirit of this fact, I’d like to post “Backlash Blues,” and “Mississippi Goddam” by Nina Simone. “Backlash” was originally written by poet, writer, and activist Langston Hughes before his death in 1967. The poem speaks to the racist and violent backlash to the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.

Recorded in 1967, the song appeared on Simone’s album “Nina Simone Sings the Blues.”

Simone, often referred to as the “High Priestess of Soul,” was friends with the poet, and performed and wrote several songs about U.S. race relations, such as “Young, Gifted and Black,” and “Mississippi Goddam.”

At the age of 11-years-old, Simone had one of her first public piano recitals. Simone’s parents were forced to move to the back to make room for white audience members. Simone stood up, at the age of 11, and refused to perform until her parents were moved back to the front row. She cited this incident as foreshadowing her later involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

“Mississippi Goddam,” was written by Simone after the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama killed four young black girls.

For your ears, “Mississippi Goddam,” and “Backlash Blues.”

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Categories: Music

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