A Change Is Gonna Come: 50 years after its release, black Americans still can’t breathe

Fifty years ago today, on 22 December 1964, Sam Cooke’s iconic ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ was released as a single. The song had been recorded in February 1964, and included on Cooke’s album Ain’t That Good News released a few months later. Perhaps more than any other song of its time, ‘A Change Is Gonna … Continue reading A Change Is Gonna Come: 50 years after its release, black Americans still can’t breathe

Pete Seeger: he surrounded hate and forced it to surrender

‘He’s gonna look like your granddad if your granddad can kick your ass.’ Four years ago, Pete Seeger celebrated his 90th birthday party with a sell-out concert at Madison Square Garden.  Characteristically, it was a fundraiser for a campaign to which he’d dedicated years of his life: cleaning up New York’s Hudson River.  That night, … Continue reading Pete Seeger: he surrounded hate and forced it to surrender

12 Years a Slave: ‘I don’t want to survive. I want to live’

Solomon Northup was my name! Steve McQueen’s magisterial film Twelve Years a Slave opens with Solomon Northup, the free man kidnapped and sold into slavery, whittling a stick into a makeshift pen and attempting to write a plea for freedom in self made ink.  This powerful image prefaces the story of a man who endures … Continue reading 12 Years a Slave: ‘I don’t want to survive. I want to live’