Indie 102.3 honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day with protest songs

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is long and complex. Much of what King is known for and why he continues to be celebrated is because of his life’s work with peaceful protest and civil disobedience, fighting for the rights of black Americans in the late 1950s and 60s. .

King was, for a time, the most prominent leader of the civil rights movement, his leadership beginning in 1955 with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. King was already an active member of his community fighting against Jim Crow laws in the South, which legalized racial segregation. But the result of the boycott brought him local and national attention. During the 385-day boycott, King was arrested and his home bombed in opposition to his message of peaceful protest. With case Browder vs. Gayle (1956), segregation ended in the Montgomery bus system, but King continued to work for racial equity in all aspects of life.

Over the next five years, King was monitored by the FBI, assaulted, arrested and imprisoned on several occasions. In 1963, King was a household name and spoke at the (then) largest protest in US history — the March on Washington, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech.” , which is still quoted (and often misquoted) to this day.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize and helped pass the Civil Rights Act in 1964. He helped expose housing inequality in the country and organized the multiple marches in Selma, Alabama, who finally exposed police brutality against black citizens to the nation. He spoke out against the Vietnam War and started the Poor People’s Campaign.

The thread that runs through all of King’s work is that he simply held up a mirror to the United States, asking its white citizens and leaders to see how black citizens were treated. King made those who thought they were his friends uncomfortable (in the face of more backlash and anger in Chicago than in the South) and conducted his protests peacefully in accordance with his Christian beliefs and inspiration. of Mahatma Gandhi.

After his assassination on April 4, 1968, King was posthumously awarded and applauded by the US government and institutions around the world. In 1971, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day was established as an American national holiday, celebrated on the third Monday of the month (relative to its January 15 birthday).

One of the ways King’s legacy can still be heard today is through music, perhaps one of the most peaceful forms of protest. In 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, several protest songs were released by black artists around the world. On January 17, 2022, Indie 102.3 pays tribute to King’s work by highlighting music throughout the day that carries his message.

Stream a playlist of songs we’ve compiled to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. From The Temptations and Billie Holiday to Janelle Monae and Anderson .Paak, let this playlist tell a story of the black experience through protest and overcoming and the road ahead.

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