Civil Rights Era Protest Songs

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  • John Coltrane
  • The Staple Singers
  • Grant Green
  • Billie Holiday
  • Bob Dylan
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Sam Cooke
  • Nina Simone
  • Otis Redding
  • Aretha Franklin
  • James Brown
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Gil Scott Heron

Bob Dylan – "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963)

Sam Cooke (and many other black protest songwriters) were inspired by Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and other anti-prejudice songs. Cooke stated that he was blown away by the poignant song, wowed by the fact that it was penned by a non-black person. Dylan ultimately made a career out of anti-establishment songs.

(Photo: dpa /Landov) 

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