Country, rock, and gospel artist, Johnny Cash, “The Man in Black” lived a hard life. One of seven children, he began picking cotton along side his family at the age of five. His older brother died at the age of fifteen when he was working in a mill, and Cash spoke of his desire to see him again in heaven.
Despite his success as a musician, Cash struggled with drugs and alcohol throughout his life. Perhaps because of this, he had great compassion for prisoners and began performing concerts in prisons. He said he wore black on behalf of the poor and the hungry, on behalf of “the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,” on behalf of those who have been betrayed by drugs and as a way of mourning “the lives that could have been” but were instead lost to the Vietnam War. He said, “Apart from the Vietnam War being over, I don’t see much reason to change my position… The old are still neglected, the poor are still poor, the young are still dying before their time, and we’re not making many moves to make things right. There’s still plenty of darkness to carry off.” Cash was a devout Christian who considered himself “the biggest sinner of them all.”
Listen to his love song, “If the Good Lord’s Willing” here: