Civil Rights Movement Film and Songs Event, January 7th

The United Church of Strafford is launching a series for youth and adults entitled “Songs That Can Change the World,” led by our Church Musician Annemieke McLane and Pastor Tom Kinder.  The first event in the series will take place on Sunday, January 7th, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM in the church Parish Hall.

We will watch the award-winning film, “Freedom Song,” starring Danny Glover, a fictional but very realistic story about a teenager and his father in a small town in the south when the Civil Rights Movement came to organize there.

We will discuss the film and the role of the freedom songs in it over a meal, and then learn some of the songs that we have heard the actors sing (plus Sweet Honey in the Rock on the soundtrack).  We will reconvene a week later at 9:00 AM on January 14th to practice the songs before singing them during the Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday worship at 10:00 AM.

We will be joined on the 7th by retired Dartmouth professor, Bruce Nelson, our neighbor in Thetford, who was active in the Civil Rights Movement (including the Selma campaign), and who has led many workshops with youth and adults about the Movement, including the role the freedom songs played.  His wife, Donna, will also join us, who has sung many of these songs over the years with the Thetford Chamber Singers and in other settings.

Below is an unofficial YouTube clip of several minutes from the film.  You can read more about it at

We envision “Songs That Can Change the World,” as a series of blocks through out the year. Each block would involve only a few gatherings and would begin with a film and discussion (and food) and end with a performance of a song or two in worship. We will look at how music has been a powerful voice in movements for positive social change, including the Civil Rights Movement, the American Peace Movement, the South African Freedom movement and “The Singing Revolution” of Estonia, among others. We will think throughout the year about how songs that can change the world are still needed today.

Please spread the word about this event, especially to Middle School and High School youth and their families!  For more information, email

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