Joseph Lowery' Benediction Rhyme
January 21, 2009 2:45 PM   Subscribe

The Rev. Joseph Lowery gave the benediction at the inauguration yesterday and that rhyme of his at the end is being called racist by lunatics on the far right. I saw an article in the USA Today that mentions he had used the rhyme before. Anyone know where and when?

"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest,
and in the joy of a new beginning,
we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back,
when brown can stick around,
when yellow will be mellow,
when the red man can get ahead, man;
and when white will embrace what is right.
That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen"
posted by zzazazz to Law & Government (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, it has its origins (I think) in this song; lyrics here. Parts of it were used/riffed on throughout the 60s, at least among those doing civil rights work.
posted by rtha at 2:54 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awesome! Thanks, rtha!
posted by zzazazz at 2:55 PM on January 21, 2009


Via Michelle Malkin, of all places:

Big Bill Broonzy Black, Brown And White lyrics

This little song that i’m singin’ about,
People you know it’s true
If you’re black and gotta work for a living,
This is what they will say to you,
They says, “if you was white, should be all right,
If you was brown, stick around,
But as you’s black, hmm brother, get back, get back, get back”
I was in a place one night
They was all having fun
They was all buyin’ beer and wine,
But they would not sell me none
They said, “if you was white, should be all right,
If you was brown, stick around,
But if you black, hmm brother, get back, get back, get back”
Me and a man was workin’ side by side
This is what it meant
They was paying him a dollar an hour,
And they was paying me fifty cent
They said, “if you was white, ‘t should be all right,
If you was brown, could stick around,
But as you black, hmm boy, get back, get back, get back”
I went to an employment office,
Got a number ‘n’ i got in line
They called everybody’s number,
But they never did call mine
They said, “if you was white, should be all right,
If you was brown, could stick around,
But as you black, hmm brother, get back, get back, get back”
I hope when sweet victory,
With my plough and hoe
Now i want you to tell me brother,
What you gonna do about the old jim crow?
Now if you was white, should be all right,
If you was brown, could stick around,
But if you black, whoa brother, get back, get back, get back
posted by chiababe at 2:56 PM on January 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Have I told Metafilter lately that I love you?
posted by zzazazz at 3:05 PM on January 21, 2009


[a few comments removed - question is about where the poem came from not about how you feel about it personally]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:19 AM on January 22, 2009


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