Monday, January 20, 2014

10 Songs for Civil Rights & Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM

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Today, we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the federal holiday marking the Good Doctor's birthday that has become a national celebration of the legacy he left behind as leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. His words and wisdom about ending racial inequality and discrimination have resounded over decades, well beyond his violent too-early death, and they still ring true today as we learn to struggle with the finer details of treating each other with simple human decency, respect, kindness, and acceptance — in sum, like we are all in this together.

We've come a long way since the 1960s when everything boiled to a head, but we still have a long way to go. I could get maudlin and stand on my soapbox or wax poetic about my experiences, but I'd rather reflect on the holiday with a playlist, and what better way to kick off a new series of Top 10s on Ear Buds than with some songs dedicated to the MLK holiday? Introspective musings, hopeful serenades, narrative-style accounts, empowering battle cries, righteous rage-filled anthems — all these and more are represented. Check them out below.

1. "Hammer," Bob Marley

2. "Say It Loud — I'm Black and I'm Proud," James Brown

3. "The Wrong Way," TV on the Radio

4. "Hurricane," Bob Dylan

5. "Power to the People," Curtis Mayfield

6. "Soldier," Erykah Badu

7. "Wake Up," Rage Against the Machine

8. "Umi Says," Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def

9. "Black Skinhead," Kanye West

10. "Living for the City," Stevie Wonder

What are your favorite Civil Rights-minded/protest tracks? Leave your opinion in the comments below...

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