Black Music Comes to ‘A Real White Place’

Listen Now

Fifty years ago, a quarter of a million people marched on Washington and heard Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream" speech. It didn’t just change the political landscape; it changed the culture as well. We hear from blues guitarist Jack Unruh. These days, he lives in Denver. But in 1963, he was a kid in tiny Emporia, Kansas, population: 10,000. Unruh says, “I was real white, in a real white place.” But folk music -- with its message of equality -- and later, blues, crept into his consciousness and opened his eyes to a bigger world. We listen to some of the songs that highlight Unruh's evolution as a blues musician.

Playlist from the story:

"If I Had a Hammer" by Peter, Paul & Mary

"That's Why I Love You So" by Jackie Wilson

"People Get Ready" by Curtis Mayfield

"Just to Be With You" by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

"Honest I Do" by Jimmy Reed