Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Oh MY!

Click on photo to enlarge for full effect

Here 'tis ... and can you imagine that my little hand-holding song written in protest in 1964 would be sung to life after being hidden away for all these years -- no, decades? Not only this, but there were 3 separate choirs who were also singing along, breathing life into the moment with me.

It was surreal ... .

It was a moment in time when the world stood still sharing with me in this incredible remembrance of the fearless, embattled, unbelievably courageous Fanny Lou Hamer facing down the entire Democratic Convention of that year against an intractably crude and vulgar President Lyndon Baines Johnson who would crush this upstart black woman who might threaten his hopes for retaining his southern block constituency.  I'd learned by this time from words revealed by his African American long-time driver  (his name was Robert Parker, I believe) that -- as it was moving through the legislature toward passage in 1965, he would always refer to his long-awaited Voters Rights Act as "mah Nigga Bill"!

Only a short time later that same conflicted Lyndon Johnson -- after passage of the most enabling civil rights legislation -- after being psychologically bruised and battered by Vietnam resisters on the nation's streets and on our campuses -- after the life-changing assassinations of the Kennedys and Dr. King and Malcolm X -- in his plea for unity in the country, he appeared on television dramatically ending his impassioned speech with the words "... and WE shall overcome!"

I'd watched him through tears of rage -- standing before the nation expropriating this sacred rallying song that had seen us through some of the most horrendous years we'd ever lived.

All of the women that I'd ever been stood there with me on on that stage on Sunday -- reveling in the splendor of that magnificent space -- and feeling every moment of it in every fiber of our being!

Caught from the audience by
Uche Uwahemu
The next day this young mother's response was to create a new alternative hand-holding song, "Your hand in mine".  I would no longer sing We Shall Overcome.  Not ever again.  My little song was never published, but took  its place among the others in the "shoe box" in the back of my closets, but now it would live.

And it did!


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