The ‘Songs of Protest’ radio series is a fantastic production concerning many different social issues. This chosen radio show is focused on the civil rights movement. The show compromises of both recordings of songs and a commentary.
When the united states entered the second world war it immediately introduced conscription. Men of every racial origin were expected to fight for freedom – this included black Americans. It is unsurprising that post 1945, black Americans were bewildered that Jim Crow laws were still in operation after being expected to give their lives for America.
Here is a radio announcement giving detail of the segregation that Black Americans faced.
As mentioned in this sound clipping, Black Americans were segregated whilst using the bus service. For this reason, they decided to boycott the bus service. Official reaction was for the boycott leaders to be arrested for speeding and illegally carrying passengers in private cars or any other charge that they could be heavily fined. They could choose a fine or thirty days in jail, the majority chose jail. This sound clipping is a ‘song of protest’ and features the lyrics “Have you been to the jail?” for this reason.
The result of this was a declaration from the United States which declared bus segregation illegal. The next song of protest is rather charming, it rejoices the end of bus segregation.