Pete Seeger Was In Selma (And Just About Everywhere Else Activism & Music Were Happening)
<< One of the few missing ingredients in the film Selma is the centrality of music during the Selma-to-Montgomery, Alabama march. A tiny snippet of field recordings from the march can be heard at the very end of the movie’s credits, but otherwise the movie ignores the constant singing that emboldened the marchers during the four-day, 54-mile trek.
Not surprisingly, Pete Seeger—who died almost exactly a year ago at age 94—was there to help lift the marchers’ spirits, as he did for every progressive crusade during his lifetime. . . .
Seeger wasn’t at the march to entertain, but to help empower the protesters through their collective voice and to show his solidarity with the civil rights struggles. When the exhausted marchers stopped at night, pitching tents along the roadside, Seeger went from campfire to campfire, jotting down the words of their songs so he could spread their message. With Len Chandler and the Freedom Voices, Seeger compiled a collection of songs that were sung during the march or were inspired by that fateful protest, including “Do What the Spirits Say Do,” “Oh, Wallace,” “Which Side Are You On?” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round,” and “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.” Folkways Records released the album, “WNEW’s Story of Selma,” a few months later. >>