One of Black American culture's greatest contributions to the world: The American Civil Rights Movement. Of course, it wasn't created in a vacuum. The philosophical origins of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence can be directly attributed to those who came before, like Mahatma Gandhi. But the Black American Civil Rights Movement operated as the hinge, creating a means of action to push back against the powerful, and furthering the cause of women's rights, gay and lesbian rights, and equality for all. 

Every step of the way, music played a crucial role. The conflicts and tensions boiling just beneath the surface sprang up through song. Sometimes artists addressed issues explicitly, in an attempt to change minds and hearts. Or they simply created transcendent art, providing therapeutic release and reaching diverse audiences, and helping them to find common ground. Or they soundtracked movements, permanently linking shared culture to historical moment.

Music provides a window into history, and history provides a window into music. Here is a chronological survey of the twenty-five most important Civil Rights moments in music history. And vice versa.

Fight the power: These are The 25 Most Important Civil Rights Moments in Music History

RELATED: A History of Rappers Standing Up for Gay Rights

RELATED: The 10 Most Ignorant Lines About Martin Luther King Jr. in Rap History

RELATED: When Rappers Sample Malcolm X Speeches

RELATED: Green Label - The Most Iconic Landmarks in Music

LIKE COMPLEX MUSIC ON FACEBOOK