Abraham, Martin and John was written by Dick Holler, in tribute to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John Kennedy and also Robert Kennedy. The most popular recording was done by Dion. Holler along with Phil Gernhard also wrote Snoopy vs the Red Baron recorded by the Royal Guardsmen.
Think (Freedom) written by Ted and Franklin White sung by Aretha Franklin is known to be a powerful "feminist" song. We seldom stop and "think" what the civil rights movement did for women. R E S P E CT is another hot number by this extraordinary female artist. It was written by Otis Redding. No disrespect to this fine artist and I will try a little tenderness but she nailed it.
Change Is Gonna Come written and performed by singer and songwriter Sam Cooke in 1964. It was released after his death. The songs this man wrote are astounding. At the age of 33, Cooke was fatally shot. Here is a list of his discography on wikipedia.
We Shall Overcome came from a gospel song I'll Overcome Someday written by Charles Tindley, an American Methodist minister and composer (1851-1933), his father was a slave and his mother was free, so he was considered free since a child followed their mothers status. The song was first published as We Shall Overcome by Pete Seeger in 1947. He learned of the song from Zilphia Horton, a civil rights activist born in Arkansas of Spanish and Indian heritage. Bruce Springsteen does a great cover.
People Got To Be Free was written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati members of The Rascals and featuring a lead vocal from Cavaliere.
Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder The Happy Birthday Song written by Wonder was campaigning for the establishment of a national holiday in memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King. In 1986, through the efforts and exposure by Stevie Wonder, President Ronald Reagan introduced into U.S. law a holiday for King.
If I Can Dream (1968) written by Walter Earl Brown and sung by Elvis. A King tribute from The King, Elvis Presley.
Everyday People I am no better and neither are you. We are all the same whatever we do.....Stand was also a song with a powerful message written by Sly Stone. Sly and the Family Stone was the first major interrogated rock band. I saw them in concert at the Convention Center in Wildwood, New Jersey many years ago in the 70's.
Freedom was an improvised song by Richie Havens at Woodstock from the old gospel hit Sometimes I Feel Like "Motherless Child". Havens was the first performer scheduled to play 40 minutes. Due to traffic conditions he was asked to play for an extended period. Three hours into his performance he ran put of songs and out came Freedom.
Glory Glory (When I Lay My Burden Down) Odetta. There is a fabulous interview with Odetta
at this link on the nytimes.com website. You can find a lot of her
work on YouTube. She was a wise and talented woman. In 1964, Martin
Luther King Jr. called Odetta "The Queen of American Folk Music." She
was on stage for the March on Washington. "Freedom Trilogy": "I'm on My
Way", "Come and Go with Me" and "Oh Freedom" were all big songs sung
from her heart.