Walking While Black: A Song

Walking while Black

A song for Sandra, Tamir, Eric, Freddie, and many others

Protestors carrying placards at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in New York City 28 November 2014, 12:50:28 CC-BY-SA 2.0 Author: The All-Nite Images

Protestors carrying placards at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in New York City
28 November 2014, 12:50:28
CC-BY-SA 2.0
Author: The All-Nite Images

Eric was walking down the street
Walking while Black, held his head high
Just trying to breathe, trying to pray,
Trying to get through another day.

O mourners, let’s rise up,
Let’s rise up, let’s rise up,
O mourners, let’s rise up,
Up to the dawn of a fine new day.

Tamir was playing in the park,
Walking while Black, held his head high,
Sandra was just trying to drive,
Trying to survive, trying to thrive.

O sisters, let’s rise up,
Let’s rise up, let’s rise up,
O sisters, let’s rise up,
Up to the dawn of a fine new day.

As Bree was climbing that flagpole,
To bring down a symbol of hate,
And Martin was dreaming of a new world,
Even though the hour is late.

O brothers, let’s rise up,
Let’s rise up, let’s rise up,
O brothers, let’s rise up,
Up to the dawn of a fine new day.

Walking while Black should never be a crime,
In this or any other time.
And we must rise against Jim Crow,
O Lord, enough blood has flowed.

O mothers, let’s rise up,
Let’s rise up, let’s rise up,
O mothers, let’s rise up,
Up to the dawn of a fine new day.

The Charleston nine had met to pray,
Studying about that good old way,
And they shall wear the starry crown,
Resting in the heart of God.

O fathers, let’s rise up,
Let’s rise up, let’s rise up,
O fathers, let’s rise up,
Up to the dawn of a fine new day.

They that followed the drinking gourd,
They that survived the Jim Crow years,
They that rose up to get the vote,
This time, we’ll find a way.

O singers, let’s rise up,
Let’s rise up, let’s rise up,
O singers, let’s rise up,
Up to the dawn of a fine new day.

As we go down to the river to pray,
Black lives matter every day
We remember those who fell,
Speak their names, for ever more.

O mourners, let’s rise up,
Let’s rise up, let’s rise up,
O mourners, let’s rise up,
Up to the dawn of a fine new day.

As we walked over the Pettus Bridge
Let’s follow the river to freedom now
And we shall find the promised land
Heart to heart and hand in hand.

O dreamers, let’s rise up,
Let’s rise up, let’s rise up,
O dreamers, let’s rise up,
Up to the dawn of a fine new day.


(Tune: Down in the river to pray)

As I went down in the valley to pray,
Studying about that good old way,
When you shall wear that starry crown,
Good Lord, show me the way.

O mourner, let’s go down,
let’s go down, let’s go down,
O mourner, let’s go down,
Down in the valley to pray.


I wrote this song in response to the murder of Sandra Bland, and all the other deaths at the hands of police and systemic racism.

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