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Songs of Protest: 12 Months of Music That Matters2020-07-21T17:14:20+00:00

At JusticeAid, we never underestimate the power of song.  

Starting on MLK Day 2020, we began a monthly release about protest songs, with a different focus each month. Over the coming year, Songs of Protest: 12 Months of Music that Matters will focus on protest songs as to different themes or causes, or that have inspired particular people. In the course of this project, we are sure that we will occasionally omit songs that others think are obvious selections. But, we limit ourselves to 10 primary songs a month, with a playlist containing more (and which will pick up some of those omitted songs). As we choose songs, we will at least briefly explain why, and when we can, provide a video of a key performance of them. And, we promise, over the year, we will touch today’s protest music, and different genres of music.

These songs are not artifacts—they still live and breathe because they are still relevant today. We need them as much today as we ever have. Please stay in touch and let us know your thoughts.

Banner illustrations courtesy of Wikipedia and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Get Out the Vote Initiative.

  • Songs of Protest banner: By Deeno Golding, (dec.), Associate Professor of Art & Design at Morehead State University and member, Cincinnati Chapter, AIGA. Artist statement: The poster communicates the importance of exercising one’s right / responsibility to vote in America.

  • MLK banner: Posterized photo via Wikimedia Commons. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

  • Peace and Love banner: Retro hippie-style psychedelic landscape wallpaper background, dreamstime.comSongs to Uplift banner: Psychodelic wallpaper background, alphacoders.com

  • You Are Issued One Earth banner: Jungle Sunset by Henri Rousseau, 1909

  • Economic Injustice banner: Ford River Rouge factory workmen handle new engine blocks in a 1933 fresco mural by Diego Rivera at the Detroit Institute of Art

  • No Love Excepted banner: The Tree of Monkeys, Keith Haring, 1984

  • Injustices of Policing banner: Annette Lemieux, Black Mass, 1991