Boycott’s Music Symbolism

Both endings of Four Little Girls and Boycott were influential and strong in their own respects. The ending of Four Little Girls was captivating in the sense that it reflected the youth of the girls. Many times, in media, the youth of Black people, black boys especially,  are left out causing a sense of insensitivity towards a situation. Because of the importance to remove the desensitized nature of society, the final moments of Four Little Girls were compelling; however, my point could have easily been missed by other people in the audience. Therefore, it was not more compelling than the final moments in Boycott.

In the last few minutes of the film Boycott, a song titled “Ella’s Song” played over the film as the boycott ended. As Black people were getting on the bus again in celebration, and Martin deciding to walk instead of riding the bus, the song goes, “freedom will not rest until it comes”. This goes deeper than showing the end of the movement; it portrays that there is unfinished work, hard work. Martin walking as the song plays signify that his work is not down; it does not stop just because the boycott did. As Martin continued to walk, a more upbeat song was played. This symbolizes that better days are coming. Throughout all the sweat and tears, it would eventually be worth it. It symbolizes hope. All in all, the song selection of the final scene in Boycott made it cohesive and compelling, more so than the ending of Four Little Girls.

(In the film, this song was sung by Aaron Nevil, but it was not available for full online. Though, these are the same lyrics.)

6 thoughts on “Boycott’s Music Symbolism

  1. Hi Maya, I greatly enjoyed reading this post and listening to the song that you included. While Boycott’s ending is comprehensive and compelling, might you possibly identify why the ending of four little girls would be easily missed by other people in the audience? Thanks so much and great post!

    • Great question! Based on conversations in class and other blog post, I’ve come to the consensus that many people feel the end of Four Little Girls is happy and “odd” because it “does not go with the film”. While I disagree that it does not go with the film, I see how that can be the main interpretation. Because of this initial reaction, I think it is harder for people to have concrete ideas on what other possibilities the ending could mean. I think Four Little Girls’ ending prosed more “what is going on” questions where as Boycott’s ending had more “what could be next” questions, if that makes sense. In other words, I based my decision off the general theme of what individuals in the class though of Four Little Girls’ ending, and my own experience. I watched the film about four times now, so I am a bit more knowledgeable on what to look for.

  2. Hi Maya! Thanks so much for this post! I was on the side that 4 Little Girls had a stronger ending than Boycott, but your point about the music/song lyrics representing Dr. King’s life and work make me appreciate Boycott’s ending much more. I’d agree that it feels more cohesive than the song at the end of 4 Little Girls did. I’m also more interested in the question that Sam asked above–why you believe others would miss the point of 4 Little Girls’ ending. If you’re able to reply and clarify that, I would be interested in hearing more of your thoughts!!! Thanks!

  3. I really like your perspective and analysis of these two films. I also agree with what you are saying; while 4 LIttle Girls was heartbreaking, but it doesn’t push the message that the fight must continue. BOYCOTT had a really powerful ending that could not be missed.

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