The Montgomery Bus Boycott
We are Soldiers in the Army
Songwriter: Traditional, adapted by SNCC
Performed by: The Montgomery Improvement Association
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The Montgomery Improvement Association organized the bus boycott in that Alabama town. Citizens involved in the boycott would gather in churches -- which could hold large numbers of people -- to share information, gather strength, hear from the movement's leaders, and raise their voices together in song.
Martin Luther King's wife, Coretta, remembered that songs were always part of the Association's meetings. "Someone would come and sing, without an instrument at all. Then they would have someone who played the piano or the organ, and they would start, just like they start at the church services. And they would sing the songs and the hymns of the church."
For more on music and the movement, read comments by Bernice Johnson Reagon.
Music courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, www.si.edu/ folkways.