Song of the Day #2067

Song of the Day: March on Washington (“Oh, Freedom”) is a post-Civil War African American spiritual. It was first recorded in 1931 as “Sweet Freedom” by the E. R. Nance Family, and was later recorded by Odetta as part of the “Spiritual Trilogy” for her 1956 “Ballads and Blues” album. In 1958, a 17-year old Joan Baez recorded it as well [YouTube link]. Sixty years ago, on this date, Baez officially opened the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with this song. That massive gathering, famous for Martin Luther King Jr.’s legendaryI Have a Dream” speech, was not carried in its entirety on television. But Baez courageously added the lyric “No More Jim Crow” to her live rendition, a moral denunciation of systemic segregationist policies. Check out the 1931 E. R. Nance Family original, Odetta’s rendition, and Baez’s rendition from the March [YouTube links].

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