The Civil Rights Movement Lesson That’s Still Invaluable Today

Sam Gooden made history and music with The Impressions. At a time when racial tensions were high, he used his talents to make a difference.

The Civil Rights Movement Lesson That’s Still Invaluable Today

Sam Gooden made history and music with The Impressions. At a time when racial tensions were high, he used his talents to make a difference.


The Civil Rights Movement was an inspiring and important chapter in America’s history. African Americans led the movement to bring equality to all, regardless of their race.

Often, people think first of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the most important Civil Rights leader, but the cultural shift was brought about strategicallyand artisticallyby a whole community of activists.

In this episode of In My Day, we’re introduced to Sam Gooden. As a member of The Impressions, an R&B, soul, gospel and doo-wop band with a large repertoire of hits in the 1960s, Sam saw his opportunity to contribute to the Civil Rights Movement through his music.

The band’s songs like “People Get Ready” and “We Are Winner” served as anthems to further promote the message of equal rights. Sam even recalls that “We Are Winner” was actually so controversial that “…they wouldn’t play it on mainstream radio.”

The fight for equal rights for all did not end in the 1960s. We all can be inspired by The Impressions’ uplifting songs that continue to be relevant today. Sam extends an invitation for everyone to join the good fight, saying, “Now, I’m not a minister, not a preacher, but I can sing. If you can’t sing, you can talk. If you can’t talk, you can walk. There’s a lot of things you can do to help. It takes us all, it don’t just take one race of people. It takes all people, all people to love.”

Watch the video above to learn more about Sam Gooden and the part he played in the Civil Rights Movement.


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