Ballad of Paul Robeson

Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick
Lingua: Inglese

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Album "Ballads of Black America", Folkways Records.
With Pete Seeger, banjo, and Jeanne Humphries, bass.

"Paul Robeson. Born 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey. Won a scholarship to Rutgers University and was a Phi Beta Kappa honor student and All American football player. Received a law degree from Columbia University but because of his extraordinary musical talent became a leading star of opera, stage and films. Always active in civil rights, he was blacklisted from show business due to his Communist sympathies, His talents and leadership will never be forgotten." (dall'introduzione al brano contenuta nel libretto che accompagna l'album)

La canzone fa riferimento ai cosiddetti "Peekskill Riots" accaduti nell'agosto del 1949 nella contea di Westchester, New York, quando una torma di fascisti e razzisti – con l'appoggio della polizia locale - impedirono a Paul Robeson di esibirsi in un concerto organizzato dal Civil Rights Congress.

Robeson pronunciò in quell'occasione un celebre discorso che si concludeva così: "I will be loyal to America of true traditions; to the America of the abolitionists, of Harriet Tubman, of Thaddeus Stevens, of those who fought for my people's freedom, not of those who tried to enslave them. And I will have no loyalty to the Forrestals, to the Harrimans, to the WallStreeters... the surest way to get police protection is to have it very clear that we'll protect ourselves, and good!... I'll be back with my friends in Peekskill...."
Infatti il concerto ebbe regolarmente luogo il successivo 4 settembre, e al fianco di Robeson ci furono pure Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays e Pete Seeger...
Paul Robeson, dear Robeson
We owe our all to you
We will ever thank you
For making us brave and true
May your light shine on and on
Making us ever to fight strong

May we ever stand out
May we strive each day
As we fight the racist plight
No matter where you roam
You’ll always be our lighted throne

Robeson, dear Robeson
We love you.

They tried to stop you from singing
At Peekskill's hallowed Hall
But a hundred thousand people
Demanded your message be told
They took all of your records
From their racist's record racks
But you stood tall and fought
And never did turn back.

inviata da Alessandro - 24/3/2010 - 12:42

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