I Should Be Proud
"I Should Be Proud" is a 1970 protest song
Protest song
A protest song is a song which is associated with a movement for social change and hence part of the broader category of topical songs . It may be folk, classical, or commercial in genre...

 written by Henry Cosby
Henry Cosby
Henry "Hank" R. Cosby was an African American songwriter and record producer for Motown Records...

, Pam Sawyer
Pam Sawyer
Pamela Sawyer, an American-based songwriter from Romford, East London.Sawyer worked with artists at Motown Records from 1967 to 1977. Before Motown she had been involved in hit records for the Young Rascals and Lulu, and wrote with Lori Burton with whom she also recorded as the Whyte Boots.Sawyer...

 and Joe Hinton
Joe Hinton
Joe Hinton was an American soul singer.Hinton, who was born in Evansville, Indiana, began as a gospel singer with the Chosen Gospel Quartet and the Spirit of Memphis Quartet. Producer Don Robey asked the singer to try doing secular tunes, and Hinton began recording for Robey's record label,...

 and recorded by Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas
Martha and the Vandellas
Martha and the Vandellas were among the most successful groups of the Motown roster during the period 1963–1967...

. Though not a big hit (peaking at #80 pop and #45 R&B), the song was noted for being the first released Motown protest song (released in February of the year), just months before the releases of Edwin Starr
Edwin Starr
Edwin Starr was an American soul music singer. Starr is most famous for his Norman Whitfield produced singles of the 1970s, most notably the number one hit "War".-Biography:...

's "War" and The Temptations
The Temptations
The Temptations is an American vocal group having achieved fame as one of the most successful acts to record for Motown Records. The group's repertoire has included, at various times during its five-decade career, R&B, doo-wop, funk, disco, soul, and adult contemporary music.Formed in Detroit,...

' "Ball of Confusion".

The song had the narrator talk of how she was devastated on hearing the news that her loved one, who had been fighting in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, had been shot and killed in action. Instead of being proud that her loved one had "fought for her", as people around her were claiming, all she wanted was him and not his honors for fighting the war, exclaiming that the man, disguised as "Private Johnny C. Miller", had been "fightin' for the evils of society". On the MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

 program, Headliners And Legends: Martha & The Vandellas, Reeves commented that this song was pulled off many radio stations' playlists due to its controversial "anti-war" message during the height of the Vietnam War. Lead singer Martha Reeves
Martha Reeves
Martha Rose Reeves is an American R&B and Pop singer and former politician, and was the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas. During her tenure with The Vandellas, they scored over a dozen hit singles, including "Jimmy Mack", "Dancing in the Street" and "Nowhere to Run"...

 took the song personally, recounting that one of her brothers had died in a Vietnam War-related incident. It was the first release off the Vandellas' Natural Resources
Natural Resources
Natural Resources is a soul album released by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1970 on the Gordy label. The album is significant for the Vietnam War ballad "I Should Be Proud" and the slow jam, "Love Guess Who"...

Motown LP.
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