Taking inspiration from Dr. King and other civil rights activists who have been agents of change, BJ The Chicago Kid has created a soulful new call to action, “The People.” The 6x GRAMMY® nominee wrote the song with frequent collaborator Jairus Mozee (Anderson .Paak, Boney James), who also produced. Released today by Motown Records, “The People” is available for download / streaming HERE
In addition to Dr. King’s historical “I Have A Dream” speech, The Great March On Washington features the iconic speech made that day by civil rights activist and labor union rights leader A. Phillip Randolph, one of the leaders and organizers of the Great March. Following his seven-minute-plus speech that opens the album, Randolph’s erudite speaking voice continues throughout as the de facto “emcee.” Randolph introduces the day’s other orators, including Walter Reuther, the president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) who was a longstanding ally of the civil rights movement; Roy Wilkins, the executive secretary of the NAACP who was named its executive director the following year; and Whitney M. Young, Jr., the executive director of the National Urban League and one of the organizers of the March.
The album also includes a stirring performance of “We Shall Overcome,” the traditional gospel song that became an anthem of the civil rights movement, recorded at Motown by its artist Liz Lands, who is accompanied by The Voices of Salvation.
Ethiopia Habtemariam said, “I’m beyond thrilled that we can honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy by reissuing this important audio document. We at Motown want to thank the MLK estate for giving us the opportunity to build on the relationship that Dr. King and our founder, Mr. Berry Gordy, forged over 50 years ago. It was incredibly important to them that the speeches from the Great March on Washington reach the widest possible audience – and that is our objective also.”
Bruce Resnikoff, President/CEO of Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), said, “We are privileged and honored to be entrusted by the MLK estate to oversee the release of his historic speech. As the long-time custodians of the Motown catalog and its legacy, we will ensure that the recordings of Dr. King will be available in the highest quality. We have gone back to the original source tapes to digitally remaster this release, and the clarity of Dr. King’s voice brings his message to today’s audience in a remarkable way.”
THE GREAT MARCH ON WASHINGTON [digital release]
1. A. Philip Randolph (7:17)
2. Walter Reuther (6:50)
3. Roy Wilkins (10:29)
4. Liz Lands – We Shall Overcome (3:31)
5. Whitney M. Young, Jr. (6:59)
6. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (18:19)