|All of the titles on this site (and many more) are available for purchase at our Rediscover Music catalogue site. Click here for details.|
Freedom Is A Constant Struggle
Developed by the Washington, D.C. based Cultural Center For Social Change, this collection single-mindedly presents the music of the special historical summer of 1965. Artists who have contributed include Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Odetta, Tom Paxton, The SNCC Freedom Singers, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Phil Ochs, and many others. Most of the songs are period recordings, although some are freshly recorded for this collection, and a handful are brand new songs written for the occasion.
A Note About This Recorded Collection
About The Organization
Cultural Center for Social Change is a non-profit, arts education organization located in the District of Columbia. It was established to educate the general public through the arts about historic, social and political movements in this country and abroad; to provide arts programming to underserved populations; and to collaborate with artists involved in projects for social change. For more information about the center's forthcoming book, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle; An Anthology of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, or other organizational activities write:
Cultural Center For Social Change
3133 Connecticut Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20008
The creation of the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project is, in every way, evolutionary and a labor of love. This musical collection and forthcoming anthology was born while I was in graduate school researching songs from the Civil Rights Movement. Digging through issues of Broadside magazine from the early 60's, I noticed that the most powerful and provocative pieces captured the brutality committed against those who dared to eradicate the segregation and racist status quo in Mississippi. There, in the summer of 1964, close to one thousand college students from the North joined civil rights workers in a dangerous operation to bring about social reforms for southern blacks, including voting rights, better schools, and adequate housing. Their passion and purpose filled the pages of this national song magazine, where the story of the Mississippi Freedom Summer unfolded, at once urgent and eloquent. Like an explorer who discovered a buried treasure, I had to share my riches with the rest of the world.
I began by weaving this information into an arts-empowerment program for at-risk, low-income youth and children in Washington, D.C. not surprisingly, most of my students had been denied exposure to the events and individuals who made possible the Mississippi Freedom Summer, as American history texts typically make cursory, if any, reference to one of the country's most decisive initiatives for social change.
Realizing something more had to be done, I put all of my energies and limited resources into developing a national forum for Freedom Summer participants to document their legacies in a non-commercial format, unscarred by censorship and media distortion. Literally hundreds of people have supported my efforts, in a generous offering of articles, testimonies, and the cherished lyrics and melodies included here. I'm careful to remind you, however, that this collection is not meant to be a historical account; rather, it is a retrospective reminiscent of the racial discrimination and economic disparity that continues today, dangerously ignored and inexcusably dismissed.
Nor is this project all inclusive. Hundreds of Freedom Summer volunteers were never located, and others have never forwarded their materials despite their initial enthusiasm and my repeated requests. Perhaps, they feel their recollection has been tempered by the passage of time; or, conversely, their memories have proven too difficult to record.
It is, nevertheless, a fine tribute, which I have dedicated to the memory of Ella Baker. Ella's name is not widely known among the general public, but to those inside the movement, her uncompromising mission and inspiriting presence were a sustaining force. I am also proud to present this project in honor of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney . . . and all those who gave their lives to the ongoing struggle for racial equality and social justice.
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle has touched my life in many ways. The captivating power of the material and the wonderful people I met made this experience one of the most rewarding in my life. It is my hope that the songs assembled for this collection stir the emotions of the listener as they have mine, and that they are shared with generations to come.