“Glory” by John Legend and Common is a song that was written for the film Selma that portrays the association of racism in the mid 1900s and racism that still continues to divide our world today. The song expresses how we have not yet achieved glory and further emphasizes that racism still exists today.

Many songs have similar linages to “Glory.” As racism is extremely apparent in our world today, we see that it is now very common for different artists and songwriters to produce songs that focus on racism and act as a voice for those that are faced with this battle every day:

“We Shall Overcome” by Pete Seeger | “Southern Man” by Neil Young | “When The Revolution Comes” by The Last Poets

These three songs contain similar lineages to “Glory.” Moreover, these songs connect to John Legend’s and Common’s songs as they all share similarities when it comes to the idea of how our world has yet to defeat racism. These songs also act has a voice for people as the lineages found in these songs are truthful, empowering and hopeful just as “Glory” is.

“We Shall Overcome” by Pete Seeger: 

Pete Seeger’s cover of “We Shall Overcome” is a folk song that not only empowers people, but reassures them that our world will defeat racism and even further, we will overcome it. Similar to “Glory,” this songs lineage revolves around the idea that racism is a constant battle that our world is fighting that continues to divide society in the most horrific way possible. Seeger provides people with a sense of hope in this song as John Legend does the same as he assures people that ‘glory’ will eventually be achieved or, in other words, racism, discrimination and racial inequality will no longer exist. Both “Glory” and “We Shall Overcome” offer not only  courage, but comfort as we continue to attempt to confront prejudice and ignorance in the battle for equal rights for Black people and many other minority groups. Both of these songs encourage society to keep fighting for equality among all races and to not give up as one day, we will in fact ‘overcome’ and achieve ‘glory.’ Seeger’s lyrics clearly display these ideas:

We shall overcome, some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

We’ll walk hand in hand

We shall live in peace, some day

We are not afraid

“Southern Man” by Neil Young:

Neil Young’s song, “Southern Man” is about the history of America’s racism and brutality, specifically in the Southern U.S. In his song, Neil refers to the south as an example because racism occurring here at the time was not only much more obvious than in other parts of the U.S., but was especially brutal. It exposes the racism and the unjust way Black people were treated in the south for many years going back to slavery, and are still today. Moreover, it’s undeniable that the majority of prejudice, oppression and segregation towards Black people took place in the south back then. These songs lineages are similar as “Glory” was written for the film, Selma, which depicts the racist, harsh south during the time of the civil rights movement. Young includes parts of southern history involving extreme racism; he references cotton, mansions, shacks and bullwhips which refer to slavery. In the movie Selma, “Glory” is used to act as a voice to the Black people in the south during the period when it was almost impossible for Black people to vote. Young’s, Legend’s and Common’s linages come together to form one confounding relationship as Young exposes the occurrences in the south and Legend and Common confirm that these issues continue to divide our world today while still providing people with a sense of hope. Young displays these ideas in his song:

Southern change gonna come at last

Now your crosses are burnin’ fast

I saw cotton and I saw black
Tall white mansions and little shacks

I heard screamin’ and bullwhips crackin’
How long? How long? How?

“When The Revolution Comes” by The Last Poets:

The Last Poets song, “When The Revolution Comes” provides a outlook on oppression, racism and racial inequality that is rather hopeful and encouraging. During this time period, street poetry was used to reflect the times and occurrences that were happening in the world. As this song is extremely empowering, it expresses Black people’s anger of their identities being oppressed time and time again. Still, The Last Poets produced this song to reassure people that were battling racism at this time that the world will change with time and racial justice will be achieved, this is what they mean by ‘the revolution.’ “When The Revolution Comes” and “Glory” share similar lineages as they both express the idea of achieving ‘glory’ and a ‘revolution’ coming. By both of these ideas, the artists are referring to the day that racism is defeated, prejudice does not exist and racial justice is a part of our world. Both of these songs provide a sense of comfort to people all over the world that are faced with these issues. The songs urge people to be hopeful, to not stop striving for change and to look forward to the end of racism because it will in fact happen one day. The Last Poets exhibit these ideas throughout the song:

When the revolution comes
Transit cops will be crushed by the trains after losing their guns

I hope pearly white teeth fall out of the mouths that speak of revolution without reverence

Understand the cycle that never ends

Understand the beginning to be the end and nothing is in between