As I write this, Democrats are about to enter day 2 of a strategic sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives. The rallying cry for the sit in is #NoBillNoBreak, a refusal on the part of Democrats to break from the current legislative session until House Republicans join them and vote on a gun control bill. It’s spectacular political theater and potentially transformative, but only time will tell what the results will be. Meanwhile, outside of the Capitol building, people have gathered to support the #NoBillNoBreak sit-in, and they are singing. What are they singing? The ever popular Civil Rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” (See, for example, this video from CNN of people singing in the middle of the night. Nancy Pelosi is visible in the foreground.)
There’s an interesting link here to the Civil Rights movement. One of the leaders of the sit-in is Representative John Lewis, famed for his activist work during the Civil Rights Era. Avid Listener readers may recall that I wrote about John Lewis and his part in the march from Montgomery to Selma and Bloody Sunday. For this week’s TAL #tbt, I bring you this essay about Selma (“Selma’s Music: The Politics of Commemorating Bloody Sunday“). I would also like to remind readers of my other essays about Protest Music: “‘I Can’t Breathe’: Protest Music Now,” “Joe Hill Returns: Protest Music and Labor Movements,” “Poetic Protest: Women, Hip-hop, and Islam.” Find a protest movement, and you’ll find music. Keep singing!