Black History Month Part Six

Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song)
Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a repost from December 2, 2013.  As I continue with this series of Black History Month, I would like to introduce you to Gordon Lightfoot, and particularly, to his song “Black Day in July” published in December 1968.

Amazingly, it is banned on many of the United States’ top 40 radio stations.

The lyrics are about the 1967 race riots in Detroit.

The riots were set off by a police raid in an inner-city bar raid. The rioting lasted five days. Tally aftermath was 43 dead, 467 injured, 7,231 arrested and 2,509 stores burned down or looted. City officials estimated damage cost at between $40 and 80 million (US).

CBC Archives did a great job reporting on this.


  1. I remember the riots; I remember the song. I didn’t know it was banned anywhere. The Lightfoot song that most Americans know is the about the Edmund Fitzgerald. (What should we do, ban November storms?) Neither American nor Canadians are good about history. Canadians don’t know diddly about Louis Real. Americans have their own versions of the past, based on the overarching mantle of intentional ignorance. It seems important to re-investigate history regularly, to see it through new lenses, stripped (hopefully) of the economics and prejudices that formed the story initially.


  2. I am a big fan of a number of Canadian folk musicians like Stan Rogers, Rankin Family, Bruce Cockburn etc. Although I know the song “Sundown”, Gordon Lightfoot was slightly before my time. Thanks for introducing to this song with its frank look at the issues of the day. This level of social consciousness and responsibility is lacking in most artistes today.


  3. I think my favorite GL song is Did She Mention My Name?

    Is the ice still in the river
    Did you ever kiss a frog
    And by the way
    Bite Size Canada’s a great blog!

    I think that’s how it goes, anyway… : )


  4. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!


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