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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Soundtrack For A Revolution

Airs Monday, May 9, 2011 at 9:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Anthony Hamilton (center) and Blind Boys of Alabama as featured in "Soundtrack For A Revolution."

Lyrics of the Freedom Songs

These songs and chants of freedom, sung by protesters, activists, and civil rights leaders during the 1950s and 1960s, have now been taken up a new in "Soundtrack" by such contemporary performers as Joss Stone, John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, Wyclef Jean, The Roots, Richie Havens, and others. Read the lyrics of the songs that inspired the civil rights movement.

Wyclef Jean as featured in "Soundtrack For A Revolution."
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Above: Wyclef Jean as featured in "Soundtrack For A Revolution."

"Soundtrack For A Revolution" tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music — the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality.

The music enabled African Americans to sing words they could not say, and it was crucial in helping protesters as they faced down brutal aggression with dignity and non-violence. The infectious energy of the songs swept people up and empowered them to fight for their rights.

The film was directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman ("Nanking"), and executive produced by Danny Glover.

"Soundtrack For A Revolution" is a vibrant blend of heart-wrenching interviews with civil rights foot soldiers and leaders, including Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond and Andrew Young, dramatic images, and thrilling contemporary performances by top artists, including John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots — a film of significance, energy and power.

Video

Preview: American Experience: Soundtrack For A Revolution

Watch the full episode. See more American Experience.

Above: "Soundtrack For A Revolution" tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music — the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality. This documentary is a blend of heart-wrenching interviews, dramatic images and contemporary performances by top artists, including John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean and The Roots.

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