“Early morning, April four,

Shots ring out in the Memphis sky.

Free at last, they took your life.

They could not take your pride.” – U2 “Pride (In the Name of Love)

Exactly 46 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Blind Boys of Alabama played Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola, FL.

In a career that began in 1939 on the campus of the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, the Blind Boys of Alabama found their biggest test after they dropped out of school.

“When we started out, segregation was going on,” said founding member Jimmy Carter. “We overcame that. We knew what we could do and we knew what we couldn’t do.”

The spark ignited. And as gospel music and the Civil Rights Movement grew, the Blind Boys of Alabama played their way to international fame, awards and freedom.

“We can do just about anything we want to do now,” Carter said. “Things have changed.”

-Michael Lashan Hulin-Smith