Soundtrack for a Revolution: American Experience

Still Clapping Man - Soundtrack for a Revolution

Birmingham Protester, Courtesy of AP Archive

Soundtrack for a Revolution: American Experience
5/9, 9:00 pm WOSU TV
5/10, 1:00 am WOSU TV
5/10, 9:00 pm WOSU PLUS

This documentary tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its music – the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality.

The music enabled African-Americans to sing words they could not say and it was crucial in helping protesters as they faced down brutal aggression with dignity and non-violence. The infectious energy of the songs swept people up and empowered them to fight for their rights.

As civil rights leaders continued to preach non-violence and organize peaceful lunch counter sit-ins across the South, there was:

  • Guy and Candie Carawan’s “I’m Going to sit at the Welcome Table
  • The verse of “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round” was intoned during the 1961 Freedom Rides
  • “We Shall Overcome” was the anthem amidst the 1963 March on Washington and the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965
  • Even after Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, mourners found comfort in the songs of the revolution. As they marched with his casket down the streets of Atlanta, Dr. King’s supporters sang all of the songs that had inspired the civil rights movement.

Soundtrack for a Revolution: American Experience is a blend of interviews, images and contemporary performances by top artists, including John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean and The Roots.