When Mavis Staples thinks about the collection of songs that comprise her latest album, “If All I Was Was Black,” she can’t help but be reminded of her late father, Pops Staples, who played guitar for the Staple Singers, the iconic gospel and R&B group that, at its peak, featured Mavis as lead vocalist and her sisters Cleotha and Yvonne contributing harmonies.

“My father used to tell the songwriters, ‘if you want to write for the Staples, read the headlines,’” Staples said. “‘We want to sing about what’s happening in the world today, and if (there’s) something going wrong, we want to try to sing a song to fix it.’

“So, I’m still doing the same thing that I’ve been doing all my life.”

Staples, a Grammy Award winner, 2016 Kennedy Center Honors recipient and recent Blues Hall of Fame inductee, will perform — along with special guest The Broadcast — at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville.

Released last November on the Anti- Records label, “If All I Was Was Black” is Staples’ third collaboration with producer Jeff Tweedy of the rock band Wilco. Tweedy wrote or co-wrote with Staples all 10 songs on the album, which has been described as a “state of the union” for the way it tackles socio-political issues dividing the country these days.

But for all the frustration that Staples and Tweedy feel, there’s an uplifting spirit to the songs that recalls such early 1970s Staple Singers classics as “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself.”

“Jeff Tweedy is such a great writer, and he knows me. He knows my heart,” Staples said. “We’re family, and we’re almost like some Siamese twins (because) we know each other so well.”

Staples, 78, then laughed as she recalled the trepidation Tweedy, who is white and 28 years younger, had about a song he co-wrote with her called “If All I Was Was Black.”

“He said, ‘you know, we might get some backlash — people might think, how is this white guy going to write a song about being black?’” Staples said. “And I said, ‘Tweedy, don’t you talk like that. You are black.’”

Staples was born in Chicago and started singing in her family’s group as a youth. The Staple Singers, then all-gospel, scored their first hit in 1956 with “Uncloudy Day” for the Vee-Jay label. In the ‘60s, they forged a close friendship with Martin Luther King Jr. and became the spiritual and musical voices of the civil rights movement, recording everything from “Freedom Highway” to the Buffalo Springfield protest hit “For What It’s Worth.”

“Some of these young people like Justin Bieber and Beyonce and all of them that are getting these hits today, I wish some of them would just stop and do one ‘message’ song,” Staples said.

In other words, Staples would like to see a young artist display the courage of someone like Tryon, N.C., native Nina Simone, the famed singer-songwriter and activist who will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, joining the Staple Singers, who were 1999 inductees.

“Nina Simone was my favorite singer,” Staples said. “She was my favorite, and she was a very close friend. I loved Nina Simone. I thought there was nobody like her.”

Staples said Simone was an example of someone who “read the headlines,” pointing specifically to her scorching 1964 anthem, “Mississippi Goddam.” Staples, however, chose to refer to it as “Mississippi GD,” adding “I’m not going to say the word.”

“That woman, whew,” Staples said of Simone. “When I first saw her, it was at the Village Vanguard (in New York). My sisters and I went to her show, and I was never the same. It just broke me down. I mean, I felt her all over me.”

Staples also had plenty of interaction with other important figures from the area, including the Dixie Hummingbirds, a legendary gospel group that originated in Greenville and featured Spartanburg native Ira Tucker on lead vocals.

“Lord yes, you couldn’t beat the Dixie Hummingbirds,” Staples said. “Ira Tucker, he was the greatest.”

And when Greenville native Jesse Jackson first moved to Chicago in the 1960s, the Staple Singers helped launched his political career through their involvement with Operation Breadbasket, an organization dedicated to improving the economic conditions of African-American communities across the U.S.

On her 1987 gospel album, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” which was recorded at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Aretha Franklin was joined by Staples for a spirited rendition of “Oh Happy Day” and the two soul icons were given a thunderous introduction by Jackson.

“I call him country preacher,” Staples said of Jackson. “He did his part as far as helping to save this world, but right now I don’t see a lot of him. I think he’s having a hard time with Parkinson’s disease. It’s so sad.”

Although Staples comes across as someone filled with optimism, she isn’t without heartbreak. She still mourns the death of her father, Pops, in 2000, and she was deeply affected by the death of pop superstar Prince in 2016.

Prince, who produced a couple of her albums in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, reportedly opened his last-ever concert — held in Atlanta a week before his death — with “When Will We Be Paid,” a Staple Singers classic that he recorded as a B-side in 2000.

“I loved him. I loved him so much,” Staples said of Prince. “He was my angel. My angel first, then I adopted him to be my son. So, I’m suffering. I still can’t listen to the song, ‘When Doves Cry.’ I can’t listen to certain songs by Prince or I’ll be boo-hooing, you know.”