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Friday, December 20, 2013

Spirituals that became civil rights songs

Yesterday in class, we heard several songs rooted in African-American Christian tradition that became anthems of the U.S. civil rights movement. Here are the songs that we heard:


Listen or download Woke Up This Mornin' for free on Pleer


Listen or download Spiritual Trilogy-Oh Freedom for free on Pleer


Listen or download Joan Baez We Shall Overcome for free on Pleer


Here are the words:

Woke Up This Morning, Rev. Osby, additional lyrics by Robert Zellner
(as performed by Ruthie Foster)

Woke up this morning with my mind stayed on freedom (3x)
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!

Walking and talking with my mind stayed on freedom (3x)
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!

Singing and praying with my mind stayed on freedom (3x)
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!

Teaching and preaching with my mind stayed on freedom (3x)
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!

Ain’t no harm to keep your mind stayed on freedom (3x)
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah! Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!


Spiritual Trilogy, traditional spirituals performed by Odetta

Oh, freedom, oh freedom, oh freedom over me,
And before I’d be a slave, I’d be buried in my grave,
Go home to my Lord and be free.

No more mourning, no more mourning, no more mourning over me,
And before I’d be a slave, I’d be buried in my grave,
Go home to my Lord and be free.

Oh, freedom, oh freedom, oh freedom over me,
And before I’d be a slave, I’d be buried in my grave,
Go home to my Lord and be free.

* * *

Come go with me to that land, come go with me to that land,
go with me to that land where I’m bound (2x)

There’s no kneeling in that land, there’s no kneeling in that land,
No kneeling in that land where I’m bound (2x)

Won’t you come and go with me to that land, come and go with me to that land,
Go with me to that land where I’m bound, (2x)

* * * 

I’m on my way and I won’t turn back, I’m on my way and I won’t turn back,
I’m on my way and I won’t turn back,
I’m on my way, thank God, I’m on my way.

Gonna ask my brother, won’t you come with me, gonna ask my brother, aren’t you going with me?
I’m gonna ask my brother, won’t you go with me?
I’m on my way, thank God, I’m on my way.

Gonna ask my captain, won’t you let me go? Ask my captain, won’t you let me go?
I’m gonna ask my captain, won’t you let me go?
I’m on my way, thank God, I’m on my way.

If he says no no no no, I’m gonna go anyhow, if he says no, I’m gonna go anyhow.
And if he says no, gonna go anyhow,
I’m on my way, thank God, I’m on my way.


We Shall Overcome, Charles Albert Tindley, adapted by Lucille Simmons, Zilphia Horton, Guy Carawan, Frank Hamilton, and Pete Seeger. (We heard a version by Joan Baez.)

We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome someday.
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.

We’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand someday,
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.

We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace, we shall live in peace someday,
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.

Black and white together, black and white together, black and white together someday,
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.

We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are not afraid today,
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.

The whole wide world around, the whole wide world around, the whole wide world around someday,
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.


Joan Baez performed this song at the U.S. White House in 2010:


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