Mississippi Goddam was Nina Simone’s response to the assassination of Medgar Evers by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963 and the 16th St Baptist Church bombing in Alabama in the same year where four black children – Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair were killed.
The song first appeared on her 1964 album Nina Simone In Concert. Bob Dylan’s Only A Pawn In The Game from his 1964 album The Times They Are a-Changin’ was also about Medgar Evers murder.
Simone defied genres and categorization, a pure talent, a songwriter and singer, a classical pianist comfortable in Jazz, Folk and Blues, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she was as renowned for her temper tantrums as she was for her passionate performances.
A major influence on all your favourite musicians from Nick Cave to Beyoncé, her activism and larger than life personality, her intellect, her charisma, stage presence and her raw soul made her one of the greatest artists of her era. Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon February 21, 1933 she died at the age of 70 on April 21, 2003 – she continues to influence from the grave.