Singing from Selma to Montgomery

Smithsonian Features Freedom Songs Recorded During March

Read Later

Ava DuVernay’s 2015 film Selma celebrates the historic Civil Rights march and Smithsonian Folkways Records celebrate its music. “Freedom Songs: Selma, Alabama” was released 50 years ago and has never been out of print. The songs, recorded by fellow marcher Carl Benkert on a non-too-portable reel-to reel recorder, document the moving, determined voices of the marchers themselves. Read a short piece about the recording and listen to the tracks here. One of the songs, “Woke up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom,” figures prominently in Node One of Free/Phase proving that–as the Smithsonian article notes–that this continues to beĀ  “a compendium of march songs” that can inspire and be used for freedom.

Recent Articles


  • CrossTalk: Cross Talk is a student-driven, multimedia destination dedicated to original student work that explores the sound-music continuum of the African Diaspora.
  • Depth Sounding: A platform for short-form scholarship intended for a wide audience, Depth Sounding is a space for up-to-the-minute thought in which authors can experiment with format, media, content, argument construction, and more, in ways that privilege or more fully integrate sound.
  • Free/Phase: Follow the FREE/PHASE suite of sound-based art works by artists Mendi+Keith Obadike, commissioned by the CBMR.
  • From the Stacks: Reviews and reactions to lucky “finds” and new additions within the CBMR Library and Archives–updated as serendipity leads. Contributors: staff, student workers, students, interns, patrons.
  • News: Events, notices, reviews–things that are timely.
  • Publications: All the in-house publications of the CBMR, past and present plus planned, except for the monographs and the BMRJ, which are available elsewhere. Ask us!