Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Spirituals for the Healing of America

It is worth listening to the whole “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech on this MLK day. Takes a while to get rolling, but man, it gets good. This is the last speech he would make. 03 April 1968.

“It’s all right to talk about ‘long white robes over yonder,’ in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here! It’s all right to talk about ‘streets flowing with milk and honey,’ but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day. It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preacher must talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.

Now the other thing we’ll have to do is this: Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal… We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say,

‘God sent us by here, to say to you that you’re not treating his children right. And we’ve come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God’s children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you.’”

I also made the following playlist shortly after Trump was elected. It feels appropriate to revisit it today. We are certainly a nation that needs healing at this moment. Contains mostly spiritual jazz and African American songs of faith, hope, and healing. Lord have mercy.

Spirituals—For the Healing of America

Pharaoh Sanders: “Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord” [Summun, Bukmun, Umyun, 1970]
Marvin Gaye: “God is Love” / “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” [What’s Going On, 1971]
Timmy Thomas: “Why Can’t We Live Together” [Why Can’t We Live Together, 1972]
Pastor T.L. Barrett & the Youth for Christ Choir: “Like A Ship” [Like A Ship (Without a Sail), 1971] 
Famous L. Renfroe: “Children” [Children, 1968]  
The Chambers Brothers: “People Get Ready” [The Time Has Come, 1967]
The Impressions: “Keep On Pushing” [ABC-Paramount 45, 1964]
Otis Redding: “Change Gonna Come” [Otis Blue, 1965]
Grant Green: “Deep River” [Feelin’ the Spirit, 1963]
Mahalia Jackson: “Down by the Riverside” [Sunday Morning Prayer Meeting, 1955]
Blind Willie Johnson: “Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave it There” [Columbia 10" 78, 1929]
Voices of Conquest: “O Yes My Lord” [Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal, 2006]
Triumphs: “We Don’t Love Enough” [Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal, 2006]
Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes: “Astral Traveling” [Astral Traveling, 1973]
Stevie Wonder: “Jesus Children of America” [Innervisions, 1973]
Al Green: “Chariots of Fire” [The Belle Album, 1977]
Billy Preston: “That’s the Way God Planned It” [That’s the Way God Planned It, 1969]
Nina Simone: “Why? (The King of Love is Dead)” [The Essential Nina Simone, 2003]
D’Angelo: “1000 Deaths” [Black Messiah, 2014]
John Coltrane: “Welcome” [Kule Sé Mama, 1967]
Marvin Gaye: “Wholy Holy” [What’s Going On, 1971]
The Velvet Underground: “Jesus” / “Beginning to See the Light” [The Velvet Underground, 1969]
McCoy Tyner: “His Blessings” [Extensions, 1970]
Charlie Haden: “We Shall Overcome” [Liberation Music Orchestra, 1970]
Allen Toussaint: “Solitude” [The Bright Mississippi, 2009]