In response to the 1963 March on Washington, Curtis Mayfield wrote “People Get Ready” that combined the standard blues theme of a train-a-coming and the energy of the civil rights workers.
Mayfield, inspired by the sight of hundreds of thousands peacefully assembled at the March, recorded the song with his group, the Impressions. “People Get Ready” still stands on the best songs ever lists of many music pollsters.
This selection 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 open to the public through Thursday night when the National Park Service will close the area to prepare for the dedication.
Here’s Curtis Mayfield.