The Washington Post

Music of the Movement: Mississippi Goddam

Nina Simone, the outspoken vocalist known as the high priestess of soul, sat down at her piano in 1963 and channeled the anger at the killings in the South. She was directly writing about the rage and sorrow she felt after the bombings of four girls in an Alabama church and the murder of Medgar Evers, the NAACP field secretary in Mississippi.

The result was “Mississippi Goddam” and it lit the fury Simone had intended. The song was banned and it was revered. She later found another way to sum up the era’s feelings with “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.”

This continues a survey of songs of the Civil Rights era, leading up to the dedication of the Rev. Martin L. King, Jr. memorial this Sunday. The memorial is now open to the public through Thursday when the National Park Service will close the area to prepare for the dedication.

This video is an interesting mix of photographs and film with Simone singing “Mississippi Goddam” over the visuals.


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