Back in the early 1960s the Civil Rights Movement was picking up momentum. Martin Luther King was organising marches, sit-ins, boycotts and protests. There was a move towards gaining equality for people regardless of creed, race or religion. Segregation was rife and needed to be utterly destroyed.
The Folk Movement had come out of the Left Wing protests of the 1950s with its social messages from the likes of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the Weavers. It stood for freedom, equality and fairness. It supported the unions, fair pay and social justice.
The songs that came out of the early sixties were termed protest songs. They were songs for human rights and justice.
Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton were at the forefront singing songs that helped rouse the conscience of the world. The white liberals and radicals joined with the blacks to fight for equality.
With songs like ‘Blowing in the Wind’, ‘To Ramona’, ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown’, ‘The Ballad of Medgar Evans’, ‘Links on the Chain’, Power and the Glory’, ‘Only a Pawn in their Game’, ‘Chimes of Freedom’, ‘We Shall Overcome’, ‘Here to the State of Mississippi’ and hundreds more, the singer/songwriters took a stance, sang their truth, and opposed the Jim Crow laws. They put their bodies on the line. They supported the freedom riders and went on the marches.
Bob Dylan and Joan Baez performed at the great march on Washington that drew a million people in to hear Martin Luther King speak.
Their voice told the black protestors that they were not alone. White supporters went down South to support the protests and were killed by the rabid racist Klu Klux Klan along with the blacks they were supporting.