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Are You Walking There for Me?

Malvina Reynolds
Lingua: Inglese


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[1964]
Words and music by Malvina Reynolds

Testo pubblicato su Broadside Magazine n.48 del luglio 1964.



Nel giugno del 1964 un coordinamento fra le principali organizzazioni di lotta per il riconoscimento dei diritti civili iniziò una campagna, chiamata “Mississippi Freedom Summer”, per registrare al voto il maggior numero possibile di afroamericani ai quali, fino a quel momento, nello stato più razzista del sud, era impedito di esercitare il diritto a scegliere i propri rappresentanti.
Accanto agli attivisti locali, più di 1000 volontari vennero dal nord per sostenere la campagna: molti di loro erano giovani, molti erano bianchi. C’erano anche sacerdoti e seminaristi cristiani, così come rabbini e studenti di fede ebraica.
Durante la “Mississippi Freedom Summer”, il KKK e le altre organizzazioni segregazioniste e suprematiste chiamarono a raccolta i loro accoliti e diedero corso ad una spaventosa sequela di violenze: quattro attivisti furono uccisi, altri quattro furono gravemente feriti, otto furono pestati, un centinaio furono arrestati dalle polizie locali, 37 chiese furono bruciate o fatte saltare in aria, 30 abitazioni o negozi di afroamericani furono distrutti…
La Reynolds scrisse questa canzone proprio in seguito ad uno di questi episodi, il pestaggio di cui furono vittime un rabbino e due giovani volontari.
Are you walking there for me?
Are you walking there for me?
When you go up to the courthouse
In the town of Albany.
When you're walking up to register,
A gun held at your face,
Are you walking in my place
To make me free.


Here I live in Happy Town
With my freedoms all around,
When I go to cast my ballot
There is none to put me down.
But a man in Mississippi
He will register and die,
And my vote's an empty lie
While that can be.

Are you walking there for me?
Are you walking there for me?
When you go up to the courthouse
In the town of Albany.
When you're walking up to register,
A gun held at your face,
Are you walking in my place
To make me free.


You are far across the land
And I cannot touch your hand,
But the selfsame flag is flying
At the courthouse where you stand,
And the thug that kicks and beats you
Also drives me to my knee,
While you're standing there for me,
To keep me free.

Are you walking there for me?
Are you walking there for me?
When you go up to the courthouse
In the town of Albany.
When you're walking up to register,
A gun held at your face,
Are you walking in my place
To make me free.


All the nation's men of law,
They are only men of straw,
While you're being jailed and beaten
Cause you knock at Freedom's door,
And my guarantees of justice
Are a bitter mockery
When they do not reach a hand
To set you free.

Are you walking there for me?
Are you walking there for me?
When you go up to the courthouse
In the town of Albany.
When you're walking up to register,
A gun held at your face,
Are you walking in my place
To make me free.


Would I be as brave as you?
Would I live through what you do?
Would I face the whip and pistol
To make Freedom's dream come true?
There are heroes in our country
Great as all in history,
And they're walking there for me,
For you and me.

Are you walking there for me?
Are you walking there for me?
When you go up to the courthouse
In the town of Albany.
When you're walking up to register,
A gun held at your face,
Are you walking in my place
To make me free.


Here I live in Happy Town
With my freedoms all around,
When I go to cast my ballot
There is none to put me down.
But a man in Mississippi
He will register and die,
And my vote's an empty lie
While that can be.

inviata da Alessandro - 9/6/2009 - 10:16


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