Despite historic snow storms in the city this week, the White House held a special concert last night, In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement, to honor Black History month.
Bob Dylan sang his 1964 anthem, The Times They Are a Changin’ for the first time in 30 years and Jennifer Hudson, Morgan Freeman and John Mellancamp were among the guests who gathered on stage with the President to sing the final song, Lift Every Voice. (Coincidentally, the song, The Times They Are a Changin’ was released on this day 46 years ago).
The First Lady invited 120 high school students from across the country to attend as special guests and take part in a workshop, “Music that Inspired the Movement”. Students learned about the continuing relevance of music from the Civil Rights Movement to today’s generation and its original impact in the 1960s.
The workshop was facilitated by Robert Santelli, the executive director of The GRAMMY Museum and legendary Motown singer Smokey Robinson with performances by John Legend, John Mellencamp, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon. Dr. Reagon was one of the original Freedom Singers in the 1960s, who traveled around the country carrying stories in song of local Civil Rights Movement campaigns to national audiences.
The event will be televised as a PBS one-hour special this Friday, February 12. Check out the videos highlights below featuring Dylan, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and the finale, Lift Every Voice…