Raise the volume, dance around, and don’t forget to hear the lyrics…
We were working there that night. Pops called us and told us, “Listen, y’all, this man Martin is here, Martin Luther King, and I want to go to his church. He has a church, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, and would you all like to go?” We said, “Yes, pops. We want to go.” We all went to Dr. King’s church that Sunday morning for an 11:00 service.
We go back to the hotel. Pops called us again. “Listen, you all, I really like this man’s message. And I think if he can preach it, we can sing it.”
…We sang it. We started writing freedom songs.
…Our purpose was to sing songs that would uplift, you know, lift people and give them a reason to get up in the morning, you know? That’s just — we sing positive, informative messages.
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.