Interview with Coretta Scott King


Coretta Scott King:

What happened throughout the mass meeting is that there were songs interspersed. They had an order of service and so they would—what would happen when they would come and sing, without, without an instrument at all. Sometimes they would do what you call the long meter, and the—with the hymns of the church, and so on, was that they would have someone who played the piano or the organ, and they would start, you know, just like they start at the church services, really. And they would sing the songs and hymns of the church: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," "What A Fellowship," "What a Joy Divine," "Leaning on the Everlasting Arm." They may sing, "Oh Lord, I want to be a Christian, in My Heart," which is a spiritual, and they would for a long—I guess, throughout Montgomery and into maybe as far as into Albany, I, they—there was not a lot of use of what we called freedom songs. They would do the spiritual, "Oh, Freedom Over Me," "Freedom Before I Be a Slave," "I'll be Buried in My Grave and Go Home to My Lord and Be Free." Or they would sing, "Go Down Moses," "Way Down in Egypt's Land," but aside from that, these were spirituals, they were mostly things that they knew, and it was later, as I said, that the, the spirituals were taken, and they substituted words, and made them more relevant to what we were doing…