United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"Once More! Our God Vouchsafe to Shine"
Words by Samuel Sewall; tune "The Ten Commandments," 1701
A song expressing English motivations for "taming" the continent
"Death of General Wolfe"
Words by Anonymous; tune "Bold Wolfe," 1760
The story of the British general who became a hero during the French and Indian War
"Tobacco's But an Indian Weed"
George Wither, 1662
Sung while harvesting the American colonies' first cash crop

"Welcome, Welcome, Brother Debtor"
Words by Francis Williams, 1740s; tune "What is Greater Joy and Pleasure," 1730

A song from a popular ballad opera, The Prisoner's Opera

"Round the Corner, Sally" and "Round the Corn, Sally"
Traditional, 1700s
African American field song later adapted as a traditional sailing song
"Children in the Woods"
Anonymous, 1595
A song that expresses the way children were regarded in the 16th and 17th centuries

"New England's Annoyances"
Anonymous, 1643
A song detailing life in the early New England colonies

"En roulant ma boule"
Traditional, 1600s
A paddling song of the French voyageurs and fur traders

"A Friendly Invitation to a New Plantation"
Words by Anonymous; tune "Tom O'Bedlam," 1638
A "recruiting" song urging Puritans to settle in New England

"La courte paille" (The Short Straw)
Traditional, c. 1755
French Acadians tell what happened after the British exiled them from their homes
"Old Hundred"
Bay Psalm Book, 1640
The 100th Psalm from a Puritan psalter, a book of Psalms set in meter for singing

"Let Us Break Bread Together"
Traditional, c. 1676
African American spiritual used to call a secret meeting

"Alabado" (Song of Praise)
Traditional, 1600s
A hymn from the Spanish missions of California "God Save the King"
Anonymous, c. 1745
The royal anthem of England was proudly shared by the colonists during this period
  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"The Liberty Song"
Words by John Dickinson, 1768; tune "Heart of Oak" by William Boyce, 1759
America's first patriotic song composed to protest the Townshend Act taxes

"Free America"
words by Joseph Warren; tune "The British Grenadiers," 1774
A warning to Americans not to bow to tyrants and end up like ancient Greece and Rome

William Billings, 1778
A popular patriotic song by one of America's first professional musicians.

"Rights of a Woman"
words by "A Lady"; tune "God Save the King," 1795
An unusually early statement of women's rights

"The Desponding Negro"
Words by John Collins; music by William Reeve, 1792
An early anti-slavery song, which tries to arouse compassion

"Jefferson and Liberty"
Words by Robert Treat Paine, Jr.; tune "The Gobby-O," 1801
An Irish tune, popular in America, gains new lyrics to mark the end of the Sedition Acts
"As Near Beauteous Boston Lying" or "Ballad of the Tea Party"
Words by Anonymous; tune "Hosier's Ghost," 1774
Ballad of the Boston Tea Party

"Yankee Doodle"
Words by Richard Shuckburg; tune traditional, 1770s
The British made up the song to mock colonial troops, who adopted it with pride

"The Rebels"
Words by Captain Smyth; tune "Black Joke," 1778
A Tory song expressing loyalty to the crown in the face of the "rebels"

"The Old Woman Taught Wisdom" ("The World Turned Upside Down")
Words by Anonymous; tune "Derry Down," 1766
An allegorical plea for America and England to settle their differences
"Rolling Stone"
Words by Eliphalet Mason, 1802, after text by D'Urfrey, 1695, music by Henry Purcell
A "bumpkin" wishes to leave the country and to seek fame and fortune in the big city
"Address to the Ladies"
Anonymous, 1767
A song urging women to conserve and buy "home-grown" American goods

"Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier"
Traditional, based on an Irish tune, 1770s
A woman laments her lover's service in the army
"Michael Row the Boat Ashore"
Traditional, 1700s
A modern folk song with roots in an African American rowing song/spiritual
"Wayfaring Stranger"
Traditional, 1780s
A "white spiritual," a folk hymn expressing a longing for home in the midst of hard times

"The President's March" and "Hail Columbia"
Words by Joseph Hopkinson; music by Philip Phile, 1798
The U.S.'s unofficial "national anthem" written to foster unity during John Adams' term
  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child"
Traditional, early 1800s
African American song lamenting alienation and loss of home

"Get Off the Track"
Words by Jesse Hutchinson, Jr.; tune "Old Dan Tucker," 1844
A popular Abolitionist song

"Darling Nelly Gray"
Benjamin R. Hanby, 1856
A minstrel song that was sensitive to the plight of slaves and helped the Abolition cause
"Star Spangled Banner"
Francis Scott Key; tune "To Anacreon in Heaven," 1814
The national anthem of the United States, originating as a poem in the War of 1812

"The Hunters of Kentucky"
Words by Samuel Woodworth; music by George Colman, 1822
A Jackson campaign song extolling his leadership at the Battle of New Orleans
"I'm Afloat on the Erie Canal"
Words by Eliza Cook; music by Henry Russell, 1841
A song about working on the Erie Canal

"Greenland Whale Fishery"
Anonymous, c. 1700s
A traditional whaling song likely sung on both sides of the Atlantic

"The Song of the Shirt"
Words by Thomas Hood; music by The Hutchinson Family, 1843
A British song about sweatshop labor made popular in the U.S. by the Hutchinson Family
"Hard Times Come Again No More"
Stephen Foster, 1855
A song empathizing with the poor and grieving
Traditional, c. 1800s
A sea chanty moved inland during the keelboat age on western rivers

"Trail of Tears"
Cherokee, 1840s
A song about the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from the American South

"Blue Juniata"
Marion Dix Sullivan, 1844
One of the first popular songs written by a woman, telling the tale of an Indian's love

"Sweet Betsy from Pike"
Words by John A. Stone; tune by John Parry, 1858
A ‘49er song about crossing the prairies

"The Glendy Burk"
Stephen Foster, 1860
Stephen Foster pays tribute to the steamboat at the peak of its influence
"Go Down, Moses"
Traditional, first published 1861
An African American spiritual inspired by the Old Testament expressing hope for liberation

"Simple Gifts"
Traditional, c. 1840
A hymn of the utopian Shaker community, expressing their ideal of simplicity

"Amazing Grace"
Words by John Newton, 1779; tune "New Britain," 1835
A timeless hymn, made more meaningful by the author's giving up a slave-trading career

"America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)"
Words by Samuel Smith, 1832; tune "God Save the King"
America's version of "God Save the King," an enduring patriotic hymn
  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"No More Auction Block for Me"
Anonymous, 1867
African American protest song

"Dixie's Land"
Daniel Decatur Emmett, 1859
Minstrel song that became the anthem of the South

"John Brown's Body"
Words by Anonymous; tune "Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us?", 1859
Popular Union marching song and rallying cry lamenting the death of John Brown

"I'm a Good Old Rebel"
Words by Major James Innes Randolph; tune "Joe Bowers"
A bitter lament over the fall of the Confederacy

"The Bonnie Blue Flag"
Words by Harry McCarthy; tune "The Irish Jaunting Car," 1861
Unofficial Confederate anthem celebrating the Confederate flag

"We Are Coming, Father Abraam, 300,000 More"
Words by James Sloan Gibbons; music by Stephen Foster, 1862
Written in response to Lincoln's call for 300,000 more volunteers

"Marching Through Georgia"
Henry Clay Work, 1864
Song celebrating Sherman's devastating march through Georgia
"Just Before the Battle, Mother"
George F. Root, 1862
Somber parlor ballad in which a soldier bids his mother farewell

"Goober Peas"
Words by A. Pindar, Esq.; music by P. Nutt, Esq., 1866
Humorous army song lamenting a diet of peanuts
"Song of the Southern Volunteers"
Anonymous, 1861
A woman's perspective on the honor of being a Southern Volunteer

"The Vacant Chair"
Words by Henry S. Washburn; music by George F. Root, 1861
A song about the loss of war hitting home, written at the time of the first Thanksgiving

"Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye"
Traditional, first published 1867
A young wife responds to her wounded husband's return from war

"When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
Patrick S. Gilmore, 1863
Popular song about a soldier's return after the war
  "Deep River"
African American spiritual

"Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Words by Julia Ward Howe; tune "John Brown's Body," 1862
Union anthem set to the tune of "John Brown's Body"

"Roll, Jordan, Roll"
Charles Wesley, 1867
A coded spiritual created by enslaved African Americans, based on an 18th-century Methodist Hymn.
  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"No Irish Need Apply"
John F. Poole, 1862
A lament against Irish discrimination in America

"The New America"
Words by Elizabeth Boynton Harbert; tune "America"
A request for equality for women

"Going to the Polls"
Words by Julia B. Nelson; tune "Comin' Thro' the Rye," 1884
A song that asks for the justification behind denying women suffrage
"The Stars and Stripes Forever"
John Philip Sousa, c. 1897
A patriotic march by America's most famous bandmaster

"Break the News to Mother"
Charles K. Harris, 1897
A sentimental parlor song made popular by the explosion of the Battleship Maine
"John Henry"
Traditional, c. 1870s
A folk song pitting a hero against a modern machine

"Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill"
Thomas F. Casey, 1888
A comic song about the dangers of steam drilling

"The Farmer Is the Man"
Anonymous, c. 1880s
A declaration of the value and primacy of the American farmer

"Arwhoolie" (Corn Field Holler)
An African American field call

"Mule Skinner Blues"
Traditional, c. 1890s
A traditional African American work blues song
Father's a Drunkard, and Mother is Dead"
Words by Nellie H. Bradley; music by Mrs. E. A. Parkhurst, 1866
A temperance song about the innocent victims of alcoholism

"The Bowery"
Words by Percy Gaunt; music by Charles H. Hoyt, 1891
A musical theater hit about New York's most notorious district
"Thousands are Sailing to Amerikay"
Anonymous, 1870s
An Irish song about the people immigrants leave behind

"Home on the Range"
Words by Brewster Higley; music by Daniel E. Kelley, 1876
The first quintessential cowboy song

"Crossing the Grand Sierras"
Henry Clay Work, 1870
A glee about the joy of transcontinental train travel

"I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen"
Thomas P. Westendorf, 1875
An immigrant expresses his desire to return to his homeland

"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"
James Bland, 1878
The former state song of Virginia in which a freed person longs for plantation life.
"Sun Dance Song"
A song and dance of Native peoples of the Great Plains

"America the Beautiful"
Words by Katherine Lee Bates; music by Samuel Ward, 1893-1913
A celebration of America's beauty and wonders

"Onward, Christian Soldiers"
Words by Sabine Baring-Gould; music by Sir Arthur Sullivan, 1865–71
A stirring hymn asking for charity and altruism

"Before I'd Be a Slave (Oh, Freedom)"
William E. Barton, 1899
A moving spiritual about strength and resilience
  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"The Alcoholic Blues"
Words by Edward Laska; music by Albert von Tilzer, 1919
A World War I veteran laments Prohibition and returning to civilian life without liquor

"The Women's Doxology"
Words by Mira H. Pitman; tune "Old Hundred," 1920
A hymn of thanks sung when the women's suffrage amendment finally passed

"The Argentines, the Portuguese and the Greeks"
Arthur M. Swanstrom, Carey Morgan, 1920
A humorous song of envy and admiration for the new wave of immigrants

"(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue"
Fats Waller, Andy Razaf, Harry Brooks, 1929
A jazz expression of what it was like to be African American in 1920's America

"Happy Days Are Here Again"
Words by Jack Yellen; music by Milton Ager, 1929

The Great Depression anthem that became FDR's campaign song

"El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez"
Anonymous, c. 1910
The most famous Texas Mexican outlaw ballad

"The Japanese Sandman"
Raymond B. Egan, Richard A. Whiting, 1920
A sentimental song, romanticizing Japan prior to World War II.

"So Long! Oo-Long (How Long You Gonna Be Gone?)"
Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, 1920
A song about separated lovers inspired by Madame Butterfly

"I'm an Indian"
Leo Edwards, Blanche Merrill, 1921
A Jewish-American girl mocks Native Americans

"All Coons Look Alike to Me"
Ernest Hogan, 1896
The song that started the racist slew of coon songs

"Follow the Drinking Gourd"
Unknown, 1929
A spiritual about the slaves' desire to move north and escape captivity
"Over There"
George M. Cohan, 1917
The song most associated with World War I

"I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier"
Al Piantadosi, Alfred Bryan, 1915
Anti-war song from a mother and father's perspectives
"Solidarity Forever"
Words by Ralph Chaplin; tune "Battle Hymn of the Republic," 1915
A popular labor union song to a tune from the Civil War
"Hello! Ma Baby"
Ida Emerson, Joseph E. Howard, 1899
A popular Tin Pan Alley hit reveals how the telephone was becoming a part of everyday life

"How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm?"
Words by Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young; music by Walter Donaldson, 1919
A show tune illustrates rural-to-urban migration after World War I

"Ain't We Got Fun"
Words by Gus Kahn, Raymond B. Egan; music by Richard Whiting, 1921
Popular song celebrates social and economic changes in the home during the Roaring ‘20s

"St. Louis Blues"
W. C. Handy, 1914
A blues song about a woman who has been left by her lover

"Down in Poverty Row"
Gussie Davis, 1896
A waltz about a girl who lives in a tenement

"Ching-a Ling's Jazz Bazaar"
Ethel Bridges, Joseph H. Santley, 1920
A foxtrot describing a stereotype-riddled visit to Chinatown

"Chinatown, My Chinatown"
William Jerome, Jean Schwartz, 1910
A popular song from a musical
"Henry's Made a Lady Out of Lizzie"
Walter O'Keefe, Robert Dolan, 1928
Tin Pan Alley sings the praises and pitfalls of Ford's Model T, replaced by the Model A

"Lindbergh, the Eagle of the U.S.A."
Howard Johnson, Al Sherman, 1927
Twenty years after the Wright Brothers' flight, airplanes became an object of romantic fantasy

"He Lies in the American Land"
Andrew Kovaly, 1900
A Slovakian immigrant sings to the newly arrived family of a co-worker killed in the mill

"Cancion mixteca"
Jose Lopez Alavez, c. 1910
An ode to indigenous minority community in Oaxaca

"Lift Every Voice and Sing"
James Weldon Johnson, J. Rosamond Johnson, 1900
The song that became known as the "Negro National Anthem"

"We'll Understand It Better By and By"
Charles Tindley, 1905
A black gospel hymn that was readily adopted at white camp meeting revivals

"You're a Grand Old Flag"
George M. Cohan, 1906
Patriotic show tune by the master "Yankee Doodle Dandy"

"I'll Overcome Some Day"
Charles Tindley, 1901
The hymn that inspired "We Shall Overcome"

"Can the Circle Be Unbroken"
Carter Family, 1927
A reworking of a hymn about a mother's funeral

"Jesus is Coming Soon"
Blind Willie Johnson, 1928
A blues song about how the 1918 flu pandemic was a warning from God for people to turn away from evil

  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"Which Side Are You On?"
Words by Florence Reece; tune "Lay the Lily Low," 1931
The Almanac Singer's union organizing song, written during a coal strike in 1931

"I'm Marching Down Freedom's Road"
Words by Langston Hughes; music by Emerson Harper, 1942
Civil Rights song from the World War II era 7

"Strange Fruit"
Aber Meerepol, 1937
A stirring metaphor about the horror of lynching
"Der Führer's Face"
Oliver Wallace, 1942
Humorous song mocking Adolf Hitler, a popular song of World War II

"A Slip of the Lip"
Luther Henderson, 1942
Duke Ellington's song to encourage compliance with security regulations

"Gee, But I Wanna Go Home"
Lt. Gitz Rice
Adapted from a British World War I song; became a camp favorite of American G.I.'s

"Goodbye, Mama (I'm Off to Yokohama)"
J. Fred Coots, 1941
A march reminescent of "Over There" about mobilizing to fight the Japanese
"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"
Jimmie Cox, 1922
Blues tune sung by Bessie Smith in 1929 became an anthem of the Great Depression

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"
Words by Edgar Y. Harburg; music by Jay Gorney, 1932

A World War I veteran laments being reduced to an unemployed panhandler

"Seven Cent Cotton and Forty Cent Meat"
Bob Miller, Emma Dermer, c. 1930
A lamentation for farmers suffering from deflated prices for agricultural goods

"Rosie the Riveter"
Redd Evans, John Jacob Loeb, 1942
Women turned war-plant workers are made heroes in song and popular culture

"El Corrido Pensylvanio (Corrido of Pennsylvania)"
Pedro Rocha and Lupe Martinez, 1929
A song about migrant workers coming to work on the railroad in Pennsylvania

"El Deportado (The Deportee)"
Hermanos Banuelos, 1929
A corrido about the deportation of Mexican immigrants during the Great Depression

"Boll Weevil Song"
Traditional, 1934
A lament about the beetle destroying the cotton crop
"Hobo's Lullaby"
Goebel Reeves, c. 1930
The reality of homelessness during the Depression is vividly portrayed in this lullaby

"Roll On Columbia"
Words by Woody Guthrie; tune based on "Goodnight, Irene" by Huddie Ledbetter, 1936
Guthrie celebrates Rural Electrification Act's Columbia River Dam project

"Duration Blues"
Johnny Mercer, 1944
A good-natured complaint about home-front rationing "for the duration" of World War II

"Cancion Mexicana"
Lalo Guerrero, 1934
The unofficial national anthem of Mexico
"(If You Ain't Got the) Do, Re, Mi"
Woody Guthrie, 1935
Dust Bowl migrants reaching the California border often had to pay bribes to get in

"Chattanooga Choo-choo"
Words by Mack Gordon; music by Harry Warren, 1941
Glenn Miller's big-band number captures the romance of passenger travel by train

"El Corrido de Texas (The Corrido of Texas)"
Silvano Ramos and Daniel Ramirez, 1929
A corrido about escaping the poor working conditions in Texas by train

"Cross Road Blues"
Robert Johnson, 1936
The legendary blues guitar players song about the loneliness of being on the road

"I Feel Like Going Home"
Muddy Waters, 1948
A blues song that captures the musical sounds of the great migration
"Whistle While You Work"
Words by Larry Morey; music by Frank Churchill, 1937
A cheerful interpretation of the work ethic from Disney's animated feature Snow White

"God Bless America"
Irving Berlin, revised 1938
Singer Kate Smith introduced this popular patriotic song on Armistice Day, 1938

"You'll Never Walk Alone"
Music by Richard Rodgers; words by Oscar Hammerstein II, 1945
This song from the musical Carousel expressed Americans' hope at the end of the war
  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"We Shall Overcome"
Pete Seeger, adapted from Charles Tindley's "I'll Overcome Some Day"
Gospel hymn turned Civil Rights anthem

"The Times They Are A-Changin'"
Bob Dylan, 1963
A folk song about the inevitability of change

"Mississippi Goddam"
Nina Simone, 1964
A bouyant song about the plight of African Americans in the South

Otis Redding, 1965
A soul song which became the cry of women and ethnic minorities

"Say it Loud: I'm Black and I'm Proud"
James Brown, 1968
The master of soul's call for Black pride

"Okie from Muskogee"
Merle Haggard, 1969
A country singer's "Silent Majority" response to hippies

"Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round"
A civil rights Freedom Song based on a spiritual

"A Change Is Gonna Come"
Sam Cooke, 1963
A song about the struggles of African Americans, inspired by being turned away from a whites-only hotel

"People Get Ready"
Curtis Mayfield, 1965
A song of faith that transcends barriers and encourages everyone to board the trian to salvation

"Now that the Buffalo's Gone"
Buffy Saint Marie, 1964
A lament about mistreatment of Native Americans by white colonizers and the US government

"Japanese Rumba"
Jerry Miller, 1955
A song composed for G.I.'s in post-war Japan that pokes fun at the linguistic struggles of Americans in Japan

"The Sukiyaki Song (Ue o Muite Aruko)"
Lyrics by Rokusuke Ei, music by Hachidai Nakamura, 1961
A protest song about the ratification of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security

"Yo soy chicano"
Juanita Dominguez, 1968
A song that draws parallels between the Mexican Revolution and the struggles Mexican-Americans in 1960

"I Am Woman"
Helen Reddy, 1972
A feminist anthem from the 1970s
"Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag"
Joe McDonald, 1965
A satirical "recruiting" song for an unpopular war

Neil Young, 1970
A commemoration of the deaths of four students at Kent State University

John Lennon, 1971
A popular peace anthem written at the height of the Vietnam War
"Sixteen Tons"
Merle Travis, 1947
A country complaint about owing your soul to the company store

"Get a Job"
The Silhouettes, 1957
Doo-wop song about being unemployed

Woody Guthrie, Martin Hoffman, c. 1947
Folk song about the forgotten farm workers killed in the plane crash at Los Gatos

"Los pachucos"
R. Rodriguez and A. Carranza, 1950
A criticism of youth zoot suit culture

"El corrido de Cesar Chavez"
Felipe Cantu, 1966
A protest song about the unfair treatment of farm workers

"El Picket Sign"
El Teatro Campesino, 1965
A song intended to maintain morale among striking farm workers and to recruit scab workers into the movement
"Little Boxes"
Malvina Reynolds, 1962
A lament against the sameness of suburbia

"Wives and Lovers"
Words by Hal David; music by Burt Bacharach, 1963
An encapsulation of what was expected of women in the 1960s

"Los chucos suaves"
Lalo Guerrero, 1949–50
A celebration of the zoot suit craze of the 1940s

"Big Yellow Taxi"
Joni Mitchell, 1970
A lament about development's impact on the environment

"Living for the City"
Stevie Wonder, 1973
The struggles of a young black male in New York City
"America" from West Side Story
Words by Stephen Sondheim; music by Leonard Bernstein, 1957
Musical theatre hit about the Puerto Rican immigrant's experience in America

"I Get Around"
Brian Wilson, 1964
California rock song about the joy of cruising

"(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66"
Bobby Troup, 1946
A celebration of driving along "America's Main Street"

"Special Delivery Blues"
Sippie Wallace and Hersal Thomas, 1920s
A blues song about a woman who has been abandoned by her man

"Call it Stormy Monday"
T. Bone Walker, 1948
A blues song about experiencing sadness daily after experiencing a loss

"Traffic Jam"
James Taylor, 1973
The impact traffic has on the personal and the world at large

"This Land is Your Land"
Woody Guthrie, 1944
Folk answer to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America"

"The Hammer Song (If I Had a Hammer)"
Words by Lee Hays; music by Pete Seeger, 1949
Radical song about using the tools one has to succeed

"Get Together"
Dino Valenti, 1963
Song imploring peace and brotherhood

"Take My Hand, Precious Lord"
Thomas A. Dorsey, 1956
A gospel song about taking comfort in the lord during a time of loss

"Keep on Pushing"
Curtis Mayfield, 1964
A civil rights song encouraging perseverence, strength, and pride

"What a Wonderful World"
Bob Thiele, George David Weiss, 1967
A lyrical ballad that reminds listeners of the beauty in the world

  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals
"Chocolate City"
Parliament, 1975
A funk song describing Washington D.C.

"Born in the U.S.A."
Bruce Springsteen, 1984
A hit rock song describing the non-heroic return of a Vietnam veteran

"Gangsta's Paradise"
Coolio, 1995
A rewrite of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" about the gang environment

"What's Going On?"
Renaldo Benson, Al Cleveland, and Marvin Gaye, 1971
A call for peace abroad and at home

"If We Must Die"
Music by Olly Wilson, 1991; Poem by Claude McKay, 1918
A call for the oppressed to resist

"AIM Song"
Severt Young Bear and the Porcupine Singers, 1977
A staple of Native American protests and intertribal powwows

"Self Destruction"
KRS-One, et. al., 1988
A collaboration created to spread the message of Stop the Violence Movement.

"Ladies First"
Queen Latifah with Monie Love, 1989
A celebration of trailblazing women

"Oye mi canto"
Gloria Estefan, 1989
A song encouraging tolerance for people of differing backgrounds and viewpoints

"To Be Young, Gifted, and Black"
Nina Simone, 1969
A tribute to Lorraine Hansberry, intended to instill confidence in black children

"Yellow Pearl"
Chris Kando Iijima, Nobuko JoAnne Miyamoto, and William "Charlie" Chin, 1973
A call for an end to anti-Asian racism
"In America"
Charlie Daniels, 1980
A song of unification during the Iran Hostage Crisis

Sting, 1985
A peace song from the last decade of the Cold War

"Menominee Vietnam War Song"
Myron Pyawasit, ca. 1973
A tribute to Native American veterans of the Vietnam War

Music by Norman Whitfield, lyrics by Barrett Strong, 1970
A powerful anti-Vietnam War song originally written for The Temptations
"9 to 5"
Dolly Parton, 1980
The trials of women in underpaid clerical jobs

Billy Joel, 1982
Coming of age in a rusting steel town

"Contrabando y traicion" (Smuggling and Betrayal)
Angel Gonzalez, ca. 1972
The first popular narcocorrido

"Small Town"
John Cougar Mellencamp, 1985
Rock looks at the virtues of living in a small town, rather than a big city

"Mountains O' Things"
Tracy Chapman, 1988
Comment on the fruitlessness of yuppie conspicuous consumption

"Information Undertow"
Dada, 1998
A look at how our lives are being ruled by technological advances

"At Seventeen"
Janis Ian, 1975
A song about the difficulties of being a teenage girl

"Dear Mama"
Tupac Shakur, 1995
An autobiographical tribute to Shakur's mother.

"The Message"
Ed "Duke Bootee" Fletcher and Melle Mel, 1982
A lament about wanting to leave the ghetto but not having the money to do so

"Mother Earth"
Music by Amos and Alfred KeyLyrics by Sadie Buck, 1995
A lament for what the white man has done to Mother earth

Ruben Blades, 1977
A criticism for those who live artificial lives and prioritize artificial things

"I Was Born This Way"
Music by Chris Spierer, lyrics by Bunny Jones, 1975
The first commercial available gay anthem

"Love Child"
R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, Deck Richards, 1968
A woman doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of her parents

"Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)"
Marvin Gaye, 1971
A vivid description of the environmental crisis

Words by Bill Fries; music by Chip Davis, 1976
Truckers' protest against gas prices and speed-limit changes caused by the oil embargo

Manu Chao, 1998
The difficulty of living undocumented between the borders of two nations
"God Bless the U.S.A."
Lee Greenwood, 1983
Patriotic campaign song revived after the 2001 terrorist attacks

"From a Distance"
Julie Gold, 1985
A song about a peaceful Earth as seen from space, popular during the Gulf War

Prince, 1981
Prince's attempt to address the controversy related to his sexual and spiritual ambiguity

"The Greatest Love of All"
Michael Masser, Linda Creed, 1986
An inspirational ballad that rocketed Whitney Houston to fame

"Fight the Power"
Public Enemy, 1989 and 2020
A call for listeners to rebel against racial discrimination and economic inequality, even if it means turning to violence

"Man in the Mirror"
Michael Jackson, 1988
A song about self-transformation and the ability for everyone to make a difference in the world

"We Are the World"
Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, 1985
A call for people of all backgrounds to support people in need in Africa
  United/Divided War & Peace Work Home Moving Along Faith & Ideals

"The Corner"
Words and music by Common, 2005
A song about street corners in urban areas that contains profound observations of urban life

"[Silence] is a Weapon"
Blackfire, 2007
A hard rock song with traditional Navajo elements

"Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)"
Toby Keith, 2002
A patriotic song inspired by the September 11, 2001, attacks

"Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?"
Alan Jackson, 2002
A song that captures the myriad of emotions experienced in the wake of the Sept. 11th attacks

"Have You Forgotten?"
Wynn Varble and Darryl Worley, 2003
A pro-war call to action in the wake of the September 11th attacks

"Travelin' Soldier"
Bruce Robison, 1999
A song about the impact a soldier made before making the ultimate sacrifice

"Light Up Ya Lighter"
Michael Franti and Spearhead, 2006
A reggae-style anti-war song

Ozomatli, 2007
An anti-war song from the perspective of soldier dying on the battlefield

"Words I Never Said"
Lupe Fiasco, also known as Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, 2011
A song about standing up for people and against goverment

"America First"
Merle Haggard, 2005
A plea for America to get out of Iraq and focus on its own country

"Rent Money"
Jonah Deocampo, also known as Bambu DePistola, 2012
A rap song about succeeding in hip hop without resorting to violence

Dumbfoundead, 2013
A fantasy about leaving Koreatown and returning a success

Angie Stone, 2001
A neo-soul tribute to African American men

"Learn Chinese"
Jin Au-Yeung, also known as Jin the Emcee, 2003
A rap song that attempted to elevate Chinese rappers by reinforcing stereotypes

"The APL Song"
Black Eyed Peas, 2004
A song about being a Philipine American

"Heroes of Earth"
Leehorn Wang, 2005
A C-pop song that fuses East and West, old and new musical traditions

"Black Happiness"
Yoon Mi-rae, also known as Natasha Shanta Reid, 2007
An autobiographical account of growing up in a bi-racial family

"Who I Am"
Ruby Ibarra, 2010
A lament about having to suppress Filipinno heritage while living in America

"Same Love"
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, 2012
The unofficial anthem of supporters for legalizing same sex marriage

"Mi Gente"
Kumbia Kings, 2003
A plea for social justice for migrant workers

"Good as Hell"
Lizzo and Eric Frederic (also known as Ricky Reed), 2016
A song about body positivity, self-care, and the Black Lives Matter movement

"I Know the End"
Phoebe Bridgers, 2020
An apocalyptical folk ballad

"Stay Home"
Big & Rich, 2020
A humorous song that rallies people to stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic

"3rd Base, Dodger Stadium"
Ry Cooder, 2005
A song about Chavez Ravine, which was demolished to make way for the Dodger Stadium

"Where You From?"
Jonah Deocampo, also known as Bambu DePistola, 2012
A former gang member encourages others to avoid violence and be proud of where they're from

"Monsters Calling Home"
Run River North, 2014
A song about being second generation Korean American with parents desperate to assimilate

"Descendants of Dragons"
Wang LeeHom, 2000
A song about the Chinese immigrant experience in America

Alejandro Escovedo, 2001
A song about the hopes versus the reality of immigration

"Somos mas americanos"
Los Tigres del Norte, 2001
A song about discrimination against Mexican immigrants living in the U.S.

"Who Discovered America?"
Ozomatli, 2004
A critique about the true identity of America

"American Land"
Bruce Springsteen, 2006
The story of the immigrant experience from hope before departure to the reality after arrival

"Electric Intertribal"
A Tribe Called Red, 2013
Dance music that uses movement as a vehicle for community building and empowering

Mitski Miyawaki, 2018
A song about how lonely it is in a country where nobody knows you

"Where Is the Love?"
Black Eyed Peas, 2003
A response to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq

"Waiting on the World to Change"
John Mayer, 2006
A lament about the singer's generation's ability to impact change

"I Smile"
Kirk Franklin, 2011
A reminder that God is working to help you no matter what you're going through

"Fight the Power"
Public Enemy, 1989 and 2020
A call for listeners to rebel against racial discrimination and economic inequality, even if it means turning to violence

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