Songs give people the ability to muster the courage to dissent and keep on struggling for freedom and justice. They were part of the fabric of the civil rights movement. The importance of music is why musical performances at the March on Washington demonstration were necessary.
“Without the songs of the movement, personally I believe that there wouldn’t have been a movement,” Rutha Mae Harris, one of the original Freedom Singers, told NPR. “We needed those songs to help us not to be fearful when we were doing marches, or doing picket lines. And you needed a calming agent, and that’s what those songs were for us.”