The song was banned in several Southern states. Boxes of promotional singles sent to radio stations around the country were returned with each record broken neatly in half.
Simone performed the song in front of 10,000 people at the end of the Selma to Montgomery marches when she and other black activists, including Sammy Davis Jr., James Baldwin and Harry Belafonte crossed police lines.
This video, which includes images of police attacks on African American protesters, police and others with confederate flags, etc, was fan made and is well done. This version of the song was recorded live at Carnegie Hall. Listen to the audience laugh in response at first to her statements about it. Then when she says "I bet you thought I was kidding didn't you?" No more laughter.