2016: The Year in Charts

Paul McCartney Met The Women Who Inspired the Beatles' 'Blackbird'

MPL Communications Ltd/MJ Kim
Paul McCartney with Mrs. Thelma Mothershed Wair and Ms. Elizabeth Eckford of the Little Rock Nine on April 30, 2016 at the Verizon Arena in Little Rock, AZ.

Saturday night's show in Little Rock, Arkansas, was extra special for Paul McCartney because Sir Paul got to meet two of the women who inspired one of the Beatles' most poignant songs, "Blackbird." Backstage at the Verizon Arena, McCartney spent some time with Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford, two members of the Little Rock Nine.

 

The group of nine black students enrolled at the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957 after the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The nine were initially prevented from entering the school when Arkansas' governor, Orval Faubus, called out the National Guard to block them before President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to ensure they could attend classes. 

The nine were credited with introducing a young McCartney to the civil rights struggle and inspiring the lyrics to "Blackbird," which appeared on 1968s White Album. "Take these broken wings and learn to fly/ All your life/ You were only waiting for this moment to arise," McCartney sings on the track.