In many parts of the world, the civil rights movement never ended, and one band is still singing the soundtrack to freedom and equality.
The Impressions, which wrote some of the most famous songs of the Martin Luther King Jr. era, is headlining a concert to bring attention to the ongoing problem of slavery around the world on Jan. 11 — National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
“These songs meant something to a whole lot of people,” said Fred Cash, who has been a member of the band since the early 1960s. “I hope they can get some kind of message out of these songs now.”
In the 1960s, Impressions songs such as “People Get Ready” and “Keep on Pushing” were often sung at sit-ins and other protests, and the band — then fronted by the legendary Curtis Mayfield — became known around the world.
The band has continued to tour since then. In recent years, the singers have been backed by a variety of musicians, including guitarist Binky Griptite and trumpeter Dave Guy from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, who will join them for their set.
“We want to bring attention to the fact that slavery has not ended,” said Griptite of the concert, which will raise money for anti-slavery group Free the Slaves. “If this concert can help people raise their awareness, that is a good thing.”
To add even more poignancy to the show, it will be held at Brooklyn Heights’ Plymouth Church, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and the home of pastor Henry Ward Beecher, a prominent abolitionist.
The Inspirational Voices of the Abyssinian Baptist Church and Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens will also perform at the concert, which is a companion piece to the Brooklyn Historical Society’s new “Brooklyn Abolitionists: In Pursuit of Freedom” exhibition, opening Jan. 15.
“Let Freedom Ring: A Concert To Benefit Free the Slaves” at Plymouth Church [57 Orange St. between Hicks and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 624–4743, www.plymou