I wrote this piece over a decade ago as poetry for a creative writing class. Last night I performed it as a spoken word for an arts fest a friend of mine hosted. When the speaker talks about joining hands and singing, I played the tune on my harmonica and everyone present joined hands and sang together.
August 28, 1963. I go wi Roslyn and thousands mo
to the capitol
it be az hot dere az my home in Georgia
Nobody seems ta mind, though, ‘cuz weze here fo a reason.
Crowds cum, blacks peppered wi white
like cotton sprouten’ in de fields
hefty faces, brittle agin’ de sorghum brown dirt
Weze hear de young, Baptist minister
Talk ’bout howz ones day
weze all gonna live
happy and nobodyz gonna look down
at nobody elze, cuz weze be family
Den he says weze a gonna join hands
an’ sing;sing de ol’ negro tune “Free at Last”
an’ I’ze seez dis lil yungun’ waggen’ dat Mammy’s sign
she’z no bigger dan a jackrabbit
probly can’t read no write
no idea wize shez here, but I knowze–
weze here fo de likes o dat yungun’
an’ lotz mo whoze feet ain’t touched dis shor
but wen daze do, daze a gonna live free like de rest o deir peers.
Yea, “Thank God Almighty, free at last!”