For Chicago native Mavis Staples, singing gospel and chanting the refrains of political hymns have been inseparable. During the heat of the late 1960s, she and her family, The Staple Singers, joined close friend Martin Luther King Jr. by channeling their music into activism.
During the Civil Rights movement, The Staple Singers penned popular political songs like "Long Walk to D.C." and "When Will We Be Paid?" Later, the band covered activist songs like Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth," and Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall." Staples' first solo album came as a self-titled release in 1969.
With her latest album, 2010's You Are Not Alone, the now-73-year-old Staples teamed up with fellow Chicago musician Jeff Tweedy of Wilco as a producer. Staples won her first Grammy Award for that album in 2011.[ Video is no longer available. ]