The name of the song is "Only a Pawn in Their Games" by Bob Dylan. It was performed in 1963 but later released in 1964. Bob Dylan wrote other songs such as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "The Times they are A-Changing".
What do you think the lyrics of the song mean?: (Line by line, verse by verse) -
Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught: Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist who became the first state field secretary NAACP in Mississippi. He conducted voter-registration efforts, demonstrations and economic boycotts against companies that practiced racial discrimination.
They lowered him down as a king: Evers was assassinated by white supremacist and KKK member, Byron De La Beckwith Jr.
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one that fired the gun: This line refers to Beckwith Jr., and how even though he killed Evers the sun will still set and life continues.
He'll see by his grave on the stone that remains: Even though Evers is now dead, his legacy will live on even if it is on his gravestone.
Carved next to his name his epitaph plain: Evers' ideas cannot be denied, his death sparked another catalyst and another push for the Civil Rights Movement.
Only a pawn in their game: Evers and Beckwith are both "pawns" or "players" in this horrid system. Evers, an African American man, believes his place is to help create a change for the Civil Rights Movement. Beckwith, a Caucasian man, believes his place is to put down African Americans. Both men are listening to the system and playing their own roles.
How do they relate to or reflect the time period?: This song was released in 1964. In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Only a Pawn in Their Game reflected on the broken racial system in America and called for a new changes to be made.
What is taking place in history when the song was recorded or popular?: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was being taken into consideration during this time period. Bob Dylan performed this song at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
What was the overall inspiration and message of the lyrics of the song?: Overall, Bob Dylan sings about the horrid death of Evers and even though the man who killed him is guilty, the American system is also to blame. Dylan also continues to criticize this era's white elites, saying they are the ones to blame, trying to pin poor whites against African Americans so there would be complete segregation between the two races. Everyone in the country, from those who are poor to those who are rich are apart of the system. A system which encourages segregation.