Along with enacting unprecedented social change, the civil rights movement also spawned powerful music and creative expression that helped a nation come to terms with its grief and rage over racial injustice. Some artists, like photographer Gordon Parks, made the lives and struggles of black people more visible. Still others, like James Brown, brought catharsis and joy during troubled times. The movement also inspired artists to become activists—like Nina Simone, who penned songs like “Mississippi Goddam,” written for the bombings and assassinations happening throughout the South, and “The King of Love Is Dead,” after the killing of Martin Luther King Jr.
This video was published in partnership with Peabody Spotlight, a digital series produced by the Peabody Media Center, in commemoration of Black History Month.