In 2010, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew as part of its annual Music Masters series saluting pioneering figures from the past half century. Among the many who took part in that weeklong celebration, in Cleveland, was Julian Bond.
An influential Civil Rights leader, politician, writer and professor, Bond, who passed away on August 15, 2015, provided among the more poignant remarks at the tribute to Domino and Bartholomew. He spoke of rock and roll's power to unite and the courage it required to deliver.
This is the full transcript of Bond's speech from the November 13, 2010 Music Masters tribute to Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, including a poem he wrote when he was in college and published in first Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee newsletter.
"While [Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew] records were storming the charts, major challenges were being mounted against the forces of racial segregation and discrimination — the segregation that kept black and white rock and roll fans from listening to music or dancing together, that kept Domino and Bartholomew and their bands from restaurants and hotels on the road, the segregation that kept African Americans from voting ...
As we approach another celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it caused me to stop for a moment and think about the music that helped to define the civil rights movement. There are two songs, in particular, that when I hear them, I hear the dreams of a people hoping for a better life in America. The two are “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke and “Keep on Pushing” by the Impressions. Both songs were released in 1964 at the height of the civil rights movement.
In “A Change is Gonna Come,” Sam Cooke sings about the hardships that he’s encountered, but ends each verse with “But I know that a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.”
The Impressions exhorted Blacks to keep reaching higher through verses like, “Now look-a look-a look yonder, what’s that I see? A great big stone wall stands there ahead of me. But I’ve got my pride and I’ll move on aside and keep on pushin.”
What’s interesting to note is that both of these songs that were so important to the civil rights movement became songs of victory during ...