When: December 21, 1963

Where: United States

Inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and after his tourmates were arrested for trying to book a ‘whites only’ hotel, Cooke recorded and released the song which became a massive success in the Black community.

Lyrics:

I was born by the river, in a little tent
Oh, and just like the river
I’ve been running ever since

It’s been a long
A long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh, yes it will

It’s been too hard living
But I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there
Beyond the sky

It’s been a long
A long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh, yes it will

I go to the movie
And I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me
Don’t hang around

It’s been a long
A long time coming
But I know, a change gonna come
Oh, yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say, brother, help me please
But he winds up, knockin’ me
Back down on my knees

Oh, there been times that I thought
I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able, to carry on

It’s been a long
A long time coming
But I know a change gonna come
Oh, yes it will

 

Further Reading:

Berrey, Stephen A. The Jim Crow Routine: Everyday Performances of Race, Civil Rights, and Segregation in Mississippi. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Drake, Michael V. “The Soundtrack of the Sixties demanded respect, justice and equality.” The Conversation. October 30, 2018.

King, Regina. One Night in Miami. 2020. Jess Wu Walder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein.

Martinez, J. Michael. Coming for to Carry Me Home: Race in America from Abholitionism to Jim Crow. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2011.

Ritterhouse, Jennifer Lynn. Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2006.