Protest song

Timeline created by gwensija
In Music
  • Abolitionist and Women's Rights

    Abolitionist and Women's Rights
    Debuting in 1839, the Hutchinson Family Singers of New Hampshire were one of the best-known musical groups of the mid-1800s. Famous for their harmonies, the group made their mark with a mix of sentimental ballads and protest songs in the European American tradition. The subjects of their protest songs ranged from temperance to women's rights to abolitionism, winning fans and friends that included Frederick Douglass, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Abraham Lincoln
  • The Workers

    	  The Workers
    In the 1890s, workers began distributing strike songbooks in American cities. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the Wobblies, most completely combined songs and action in their movement for union building and workers' rights in the early 1900s
  • "Strange Fruit" - Billie Holiday

    "Strange Fruit" - Billie Holiday
    Billie Holiday first recorded “Strange Fruit” in 1939, adapting the words of a poem called “Bitter Fruit” written by high school teacher Abel Meeropol and published in 1937, after he saw a photograph of a lynching. Some argue that this is the most influential protest song of the 20th century, praising its ability to bring listeners back to the horror, rage, and sorrow of Jim Crow- era America.
  • Woody Guthrie

    Woody Guthrie
    Woody Guthrie, an Oklahoma singer-songwriter, is probably the best-known name of the genre, and jump-started the folk protest movement. Guthrie grew up working class in the Dust Bowl, listening to protest songs by labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill and sitting around campfires talking about socialism
  • The Great Depression

    The Great Depression
    The decade that gave birth to Abel Meeropol's powerful anti-lynching song "Strange Fruit" was an explosive time for the American protest song, as the Depression inspired artists to decry the harsh realities around them. In Harlem and elsewhere, the African American tradition had changed music forever, and jazz now reigned supreme in its third decade.
  • “F*ck tha Police” - N.W.A.

    “F*ck tha Police” - N.W.A.
    Originally released in 1988 in a biopic of N.W.A. and featured on their second album#, this song may be one of the most controversial songs ever recorded. The group was banned from performing it and even the FBI felt compelled to issue a response, claiming that it incited violence.
  • “Fight The Power” - Public Enemy

    “Fight The Power” - Public Enemy
    Spike Lee approached Public Enemy to create a song for his film Do The Right Thing, giving rise to this enduring protest anthem. In the fall of 1989, when black students in Virginia rioted against hostile police officers, the crowd chanted “fight the power” as a rallying cry.
  • "Alright" - Kendrick Lamar

    "Alright" - Kendrick Lamar
    In 2015, the words “we gon’ be alright” could be heard shouted at anti-police brutality protests around the country. Kendrick Lamar has spoken on the impact and breadth of the Grammy-winning single, which has become the unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
  • “This Is America” - Childish Gambino

    “This Is America” - Childish Gambino
    In 2018, actor Donald Glover, known by his musical moniker Childish Gambino, released this song accompanied by a powerful music video depicting the anti-black racism that occurs every day in the United States. As Glover dances to the melody, the screen fills with images of police brutality and mass murders, signifying how society just sits by as atrocities happen.
  • "Don’t Shoot" - Shea Diamond

    "Don’t Shoot" - Shea Diamond
    This song, and its powerful accompanying music video, is a rallying cry for trans people, queer people, and people of color. As a black transgender woman, Shea Diamond believes that this song captures the intersections of her experience and identity.