The chorus will once again be singing “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.” This is a powerful and central song from the African American civil rights movement. I sang the song as a child in Milwaukee when my family was active in the “March on Milwaukee” for fair housing.
We sing the song with lyrics that commemorate the history in 1967 Milwaukee, but the song continues to have power and meaning as the struggles it represents still exist.
Here are a couple of great recordings of this song, done in different ways.
First up, a vintage recording from the Freedom Singers including Bernice Johnson Reagon.
Next, a fabulous 2013 recording by Toshi Reagon and Big Lovely. (Toshi is Bernice’s daughter.) This is a deep dive into the content of the song, and includes some meditations on what it really means to sing it.
Here’s our version