Protest Songs

Joan Baez

Pete Seger

Songs often provide inspiration and support for protest movements. A protest is taking a stand against something that is wrong, and standing up for what is right. “We Shall Overcome” was the unofficial anthem of the civil rights movement. Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” brought attention to Native American grievances. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” was sung at protests against the Vietnam War. The feminist movement of the 1970s had “Liberation Now!” for a theme song. Pick one of these songs or another protest song of your choice. Research, and write a brief report on, the role of the song in the history of the protest movement.

Outline for the Research Report

  • Attention grabbing beginning
  • Thesis statement
Body Paragraph
  • Subtopic 1: Explain the history of the movement
  • Subtopic 2: Describe the song and how it relates to the movement. Include the title of the song and the singer.
  • Include your final thoughts about the historical movement and the protest song.
  • Explain why you chose this historical movement and this protest song, and relate both to a modern day movement are applicable.
Works Cited List, or Bibliography
  • Alphabetical list of resources used

Use our databases:
Grolier, EBSCOhostand California Learns Portal (See your librarian for passwords!)
Search your topic or protest songs on:

Some protest songs:

"Billy Don't Be a Hero" by Paper Lace (1974)
"Blowin' in the Wind" by Bob Dylan
"Bring Them Home" by Pete Seeger (1966)
"I Ain't Marching Any More" by Phil Ochs (1965)
"Universal Soldier" by Buffy Sainte-Marie (1965)
"War" by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong (1969)
"Where Are You Now My Son" by Joan Baez (1973)
Kent State shootings
"Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970)
Civil Rights
"We Shall Overcome"
"Keep Your Eyes on the Prize" (1956)
Native American Movement
"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by Buffy Saint-Marie
"Now That the Buffalo's Gone" by Buffy Saint-Marie
"The Ballad of Ira Hayes" by Johnny Cash
Feminist Movement
"I am Woman" by Helen Reddy
"Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell