Thursday, August 21, 2014

We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest

I wrote about Sweet Honey in the Rock once before. That was a celebratory moment, and I quoted the words to their "Ella's Song."

Now those words seem like they make a good rallying point for protesters and mourners in Ferguson.

The song is best appreciated in performance (with some of the verses rearranged, as Sweet Honey often does):



And the lyrics:

We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

[Verses]
Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons
Is as important as the killing of White men, White mothers’ sons

That which touches me most is that I had a chance to work with people
Passing on to others that which was passed on to me

To me young people come first, they have the courage where we fail
And if I can but shed some light as they carry us through the gale

The older I get the better I know that the secret of my going on
Is when the reins are in the hands of the young who dare to run against the storm

Not needing to clutch for power, not needing the light just to shine on me
I need to be one in the number as we stand against tyranny

Struggling myself don’t mean a whole lot, I've come to realize
That teaching others to stand and fight is the only way our struggle survives

I’m a woman who speaks in a voice and I must be heard
At times I can be quite difficult, I’ll bow to no man’s word

We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

___

Ella Baker was (quoting the Wikipedia) "a critic of professionalized, charismatic leadership and a promoter of grassroots organizing and radical democracy." One of her biographers called her "One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement." See more about her life and work at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

1 comment:

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Awesome. And I'm so glad I got to meet you at the carousel birthday party!