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President Obama held a ceremony in the East Room of the White House yesterday to pay tribute to the music of the Civil Rights Movement.

Some of the performers and guests included Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, John Legend and Jennifer Hudson.

“It’s easy to sing when you’re amongst friends. It’s easy to sing when times are good. But it is hard to sing when times are rough. It’s hard to sing in the face of taunts, fear and the constant threat of violence.

It’s hard to sing when folks are being beating… leaders are being jailed… churches are being bombed. It’s hard to sing in times like that but times like that are precisely when the power of song is most potent.”

Peep the President singing the Negro National Anthem: “Lift Every Voice And Sing” penned by James Weldon Johnson.