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Freedom Singers audio & slide show (NYT)

Desert Dancer 06 Nov 08 - 11:03 PM
Barry Finn 06 Nov 08 - 11:20 PM
Janie 06 Nov 08 - 11:23 PM
Janie 06 Nov 08 - 11:26 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Nov 08 - 11:41 PM
Azizi 07 Nov 08 - 09:51 AM
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Subject: Freedom Singers audio & slide show (NYT)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 11:03 PM

The New York times has a special narrated slideshow on the Freedom Singers and the 2008 election:

Singing for Freedom

"Activists who marched, sang and helped register voters during the civil rights movement in Albany, Ga., discuss the significance of the 2008 presidential election."

Here's the related article, with excerpts below:

A Time to Reap for Foot Soldiers of Civil Rights
By KEVIN SACK
Published: November 4, 2008

ALBANY, Ga. — Rutha Mae Harris backed her silver Town Car out of the driveway early Tuesday morning, pointed it toward her polling place on Mercer Avenue and started to sing.

"I'm going to vote like the spirit say vote," Miss Harris chanted softly.

I'm going to vote like the spirit say vote,

I'm going to vote like the spirit say vote,

And if the spirit say vote I'm going to vote,

Oh Lord, I'm going to vote when the spirit say vote.

As a 21-year-old student (on right in photo), she had bellowed that same freedom song at mass meetings at Mount Zion Baptist Church back in 1961, the year Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, a universe away. She sang it again while marching on Albany's City Hall, where she and other black students demanded the right to vote, and in the cramped and filthy cells of the city jail, which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described as the worst he ever inhabited.

...

Miss Harris, a retired special education teacher who was jailed three times in 1961 and 1962, was so convinced that Mr. Obama could not win white support that she backed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries. "I just didn't feel it was time for a black man, to be honest," she said. "But the Lord has revealed to me that it is time for a change."

Late Tuesday night, when the networks declared Mr. Obama the winner, Miss Harris could not hold back the tears, the emotions of a lifetime released in a flood. She shared a lengthy embrace with friends gathered at the Obama headquarters, and then led the exultant crowd in song.

"Glory, glory, hallelujah," she sang. After a prayer, she joined the crowd in chanting, "Yes, we did!"

...

Lucius Holloway Sr., 76, said he lost his job as a post office custodian after he began registering voters in neighboring Terrell County. He said he was shunned by other blacks who hated him for the trouble he incited.

Now Mr. Holloway is a member of the county commission, and when he voted for Mr. Obama last week he said his pride was overwhelming. "Thank you, Jesus, I lived to see the fruit of my labor," he said.

When the movement came to Albany in 1961, fewer than 100 of Dougherty County's 20,000 black residents were registered to vote, said the Rev. Charles M. Sherrod, one of the first field workers sent here by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Literacy tests made a mockery of due process — Mr. Boyd remembers being asked by a registrar how many bubbles were in a bar of soap — and bosses made it clear to black workers that registration might be incompatible with continued employment.

The Albany movement spread with frenzied abandon after the arrival of Mr. Sherrod and other voting-rights organizers, and Dr. King devoted nearly a year to the effort. The protests became known for the exuberant songs that Miss Harris and others adapted from Negro spirituals. (She would go on to become one of the Freedom Singers, a group that traveled the country as heralds for the civil rights movement.) In the jails, the music helped wile away time and soothe the soul, just as they had in the fields a century before.

But the movement met its match in Albany's recalcitrant white leaders, who filled the jails with demonstrators while avoiding the kind of violence that drew media outrage and federal intervention in other civil rights battlegrounds. The energy gradually drained from the protests, and Dr. King moved on to Birmingham, counting Albany as a tactical failure.

...

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Freedom Singers audio & slide show (NYT)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 11:20 PM

Becky, your link brings me to southwest airlines. I'd love to fly to Ga to hear them but the ceap fares they're offering is still to much, thanks for the article though

Barry


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Subject: RE: Freedom Singers audio & slide show (NYT)
From: Janie
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 11:23 PM

This link should work.


Singing for Freedom


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Subject: RE: Freedom Singers audio & slide show (NYT)
From: Janie
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 11:26 PM

You can also get to from Becky's second link.

And thanks, Becky, for sharing the article.


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Subject: RE: Freedom Singers audio & slide show (NYT)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 11:41 PM

Oops!

Thanks for the fix, Janie.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Freedom Singers audio & slide show (NYT)
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Nov 08 - 09:51 AM

Thanks for letting us know about this article.

In the spirit of the folk process, I'd make a friendly revision to one of the lines posted for that voting song.

I'm going to vote like the spirit say vote," Miss Harris chanted softly.

I'm going to vote like the spirit say vote,

I'm going to vote like the spirit say vote,

And if the spirit say vote I'm going to vote,

Oh Lord, I'm going to vote when the spirit say vote.

-snip-

Instead of "If the spirit says vote", I'd prefer people sing "'Cause the spirit says vote".

People died for the right to vote.

In this past election, and in any other one, I don't think there shouldn't have been and shouldn't be any internal debate about whether the spirit is telling a person to "vote" or not.


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