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Sundown

Agnes Cunningham
Lingua: Inglese


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[1937]
Parole e musica di Agnes “Sis” Cunningham
Nella raccolta intitolata “Sis Cunningham - Broadside Ballads, Vol. 9: Sundown”, pubblicato dalla Folkways Records nel 1976.

Sis Cunningham - Broadside Ballads, Vol. 9: Sundown

Una canzone dai campi di cotone nel Missouri degli anni 30.
Per combattere la depressione e l’inaridimento dei terreni agricoli, l’Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) di Roosevelt fece applicare nuovi metodi di coltivazione e abbassare drasticamente la produzione, in modo che i prodotti raggiungessero un prezzo di mercato minimo significativo. Per fare questo il settore agricolo fu fortemente sovvenzionato con assegni federali, che però s’intascarono interamente i proprietari. Come al solito furono i ricchi ad arricchirsi e i poveri ad impoverirsi ulteriormente.



Sfruttati come sempre e, per di più, presi per il culo, gli “sharecroppers” si organizzarono in sindacato, la Southern Tenant Farmers' Union (STFU), fondata nel 1934, che, fra l’altro, fu fin da subito aperta a bianchi e neri, una delle poche Unions no segregazioniste dell’epoca. Ovviamente, se l’attivismo sindacale era già visto dai padroni come la peste, figuriamoci aver a che fare con lavoratori sindacalizzati e pure negri!
La STFU organizzò il primo grande sciopero nel 1935, e ne uscì vittoriosa: la paga, calcolata su 100 libbre (ca 45 Kg) di cotone, aumentò sensibilmente, da meno di 40 centesimi a 70 cent./1 dollaro.
Nel 1939 la STFU promosse forti proteste nel distretto di Bootheel, Missouri, dove i padroni non elargivano ai lavoratori la parte di assegni federali ad essi destinati: intervenne direttamente Roosevelt per risolvere il problema in favore degli “sharecroppers”.
Down in the cotton row, pickin in the sun
Whishin to the Lord that the day was done
Sack gettin heavy, Sun gettin hot
I'm whishin for a little what the boss has got
A dipper a-water, fresh from the well
A patch a-shade to sit for a spell
Down in the cotton row, bendin low
Think I'm goin where cotton don't grow.

Get a-way from here. Get a-way. Get a-way.

Hurry, hurry, thru the long long days,
And a fightin the knats from outa my face
Boss he says, when the crop's all in
Don't owe us nothin, but we owes him
When we pays him off at 40 percent
Our share a the cotton done came and went
We's livin in slavery, but a-thinkin free
Goin to find us a better place to be.

Get a-way from here. Get a-way. Get a-way.

Down in the cotton row, snappin bolls
Nothin to show but shoes full-a holes
Bollies get tin thin -- everyday less
Can't even earn me a cotton dress
See the little kids up and down that row
Mean old chilly wind a-startin to blow
Rags is a-flappin like an old scarecrow
Winter's comin and we just gotta go.

Get a-way from here. Get a-way. Get a-way.

Travelin North, snow is a-blowin
Travelin South, more cotton growin
Travelin East, same old thing
Pickin in the fall and a-choppin in the spring
Travelin West, ain't nothin worse
All them Okies got there first
Season's slack, work's all done
Told us all, get on back home.

Get a-way from here. Get a-way. Get a-way.

Back in cottonland, livin in a tent
Car broke down, and money spent
Preacher says pray for your lives
Union man says "Organize"
Well the very first meetin we did call
Them bullets came through the churchhouse wall
Planters don't 'llow no Union here
Machine gun's speak in it mighty clear.

Get a-way from here. Get a-way. Get a-way.

They shot my brother, they jailed my man
Run my family off the land
But one thing sure we ain't alone
So we keep on hangin' on
No more croppin', just work in , by the day
Kids don't eat when their Daddy's away
So here I am with a goddam hoe
Thinkin' I'm goin' where cotton don't grow.

Get a-way from here. Get a-way. Get a-way.

This old cotton row looks seven miles long
Seven verses to this song
I pick up my hoe and I start to chop
And I know this ain't the bosses crop
Belongs to the people that works this ground
And we don't need no boss around
If we can use a hoe, we can use a gun
Now, boss, it's time for you to run.

Get a-way from here. Get a-way. Get a-way.

inviata da Bernart Bartleby - 22/5/2015 - 13:12



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