Thursday, February 11, 2010 | By: Tonya Keitt Kalule

Civil Rights and Bob Dylan

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has been instrumental in social change since the 1960's with his folk music. He was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota.

At the age of six, his father was stuck with Polio and the family moved to Hibbing, Minnesota, a small but close-knit Jewish community where his mother was from. He spent most of his youth listening to the radio and fell in love with music, at the time it was rock and roll.

When he entered the University of Minnesota, he decided that rock and roll was not enough for him and turned to folk music. He wanted to write and sing songs that reflected life, with all its pain and deep emotions. He wanted to tell these stories. It was at this time that he started to introduce himself as Bob Dylan.

In 1963 Dylan was very active in the Civil Rights Movement, when he was to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, and because of his politics and the song that he wanted to sing on the show "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues" CBS Television believed it to be slanderous against the John Birch Society, so instead of being censored, he refuse to appear on the show.

Of course this got him a great deal of attention.

In August of 1963, Dylan and his partner Baez sang songs from his third album " The Times They Are A-Changin", at the March on Washington.
On this album were songs like, " Only A Pawn in Their Game", which addressed the death of Medger Evers; "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" about the death of a black barmaid at the hands of a white socialite; and many others that carried strong political messages.
He also recorded this song,
" The Death of Emmit Tillman"

By the end of that year the pressure and tension of his activism had taken his told and the music changed.


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