What The Beatles and Beyoncé’s ‘Blackbird’ means to this Little Rock Nine member

Written by on April 3, 2024

Melba Pattillo Beals, a member of the Little Rock Nine and a prominent figure in the desegregation of American public schools, found profound meaning in Beyoncé’s cover of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” featured on her album “Cowboy Carter.” The song, originally inspired by the courage of the Little Rock Nine, holds special significance for Beals, who faced immense challenges while integrating Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. Beyoncé’s rendition of “Blackbird” resonated deeply with Beals, symbolizing not only her personal struggles and achievements but also the broader struggles of Black Americans. Paul McCartney, who composed the song, had previously indicated that “Blackbird” was a tribute to the civil rights movement and specifically to the story of the Little Rock Nine. Beals views Beyoncé’s cover as a powerful reminder of the ongoing fight for equality and hopes it will inspire people to reflect on the civil rights movement and recognize the continuing struggle for justice and freedom. Beals’ appreciation for the song is intertwined with her own history of perseverance and resilience, embodying her grandmother’s advice to “keep going no matter what.”

Source: NPR

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