Protest music isn't just a folk singer with a guitar. There are great protest songs from practically every genre: hip-hop, soul, country, rock — and even classical.
An exhibit at the University of Minnesota's Wilson and Music Library this month is examining the role protest music has played in many different causes.
A sampling of some notable protest songs:
The lyrics of "Which Side Are You On?" were written by Florence Reece, the wife of a union organizer, in response to the 1931 miners' strike in Harlan County, Ky. It's set to the hymn "Lay the Lily Low":
Neil Young wrote "Ohio" in response to the 1970 Kent State shootings:
Frederic Rzewski wrote "The People United Will Never Be Defeated!" to support Chileans living under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet:
"What's Going On" was written by Obie Benson and Marvin Gaye in response to the social and poltical conflicts of 1969:
Thao Nguyen wrote the song "We The Common (For Valerie Bolden)" after meeting women in prison through her work with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. (See a video of Nguyen performing the song at a protest rally against overcrowding in the state's prison system outside the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, Calif.):
THE SONGS: Listeners and readers sent in an extended protest mix: