Sit through the movie, 12 Years A Slave, and you will never again easily dismiss the wrongs of slavery, or the deep scar it left on generations to follow or the shortcomings of our nation to deal effectively with racism and the judging of people by color.
It is a painful movie to watch, but one which every one living in this country should see if only to put the struggle and offenses of today into clearer perspective.
Case in point, just consider the life of Sam Cooke, who is featured in a recent piece on NPR.
At the time it was written, nearly a hundred years after the Civil War, the song was clearly seen as controversial.
Rolling Stone now calls it one of the greatest songs of all time.
‘A Change is going to come,” was written in 1964 when Cooke was at the top of his career as one of the first cross-over artists with mainstream music which packed dance floors. Yet his fame and national appeal did not stop a hotel in Louisiana from refusing to house his band at a local gig. It was this incident which would later lead him to write ‘A change is going to come.’
A recent NPR piece on Cook spells out the risks that he took in producing a song with such direct social impact. It too is worth a read.
Cooke’s biographer Peter Guralnick, is quoted as saying;
“Generation after generation has heard the promise of it. It continues to be a song of enormous impact,” he says. “We all feel in some way or another that a change is gonna come, and he found that lyric. It was the kind of hook that he always looked for: The phrase that was both familiar but was striking enough that it would have its own originality. And that makes it almost endlessly adaptable to whatever goal, whatever movement is of the moment.”
Writer, photographer. Passionate foodie, lover of good books and storytelling. Lives in Globe. Plays in the historic district. Travels when possible.