When many people think of the Civil Rights Movement, they usually think of Dr. King, and Sister Rosa Parks (God rest their souls).

Sadly many people do not know of Ms. June Johnson, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and many other unsung and unknown black women who were the true backbone of the Civil Rights Movement, from the Depression years, all the way through the 1970s, and beyond. Women like:
Septima Poinsette Clark
Clara Luper
Daisy Bates
Jo Ann Robinson
Juanita Jackson
Pauli Murray
Viola White
Diane Nash
Gloria Johnson
Ruby Smith
Dorothy Height

There have been unheralded accomplishments that so many black women did during the long history of the fight for justice , dignity, decency and humanity for black Americans.

And the above are just a few in the long line of so many black women who lent true credence to the song that became the anthem of all civil rights workers who fought the good fight;
Paul and Silas, bound in jail, had no money for to go their bail,
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on.
Chorus: Hold on, Hold on,
Keep your eyes on the prize,
Hold on. Hold on.
Paul and Silas begin to shout,
The jail door opened and they walked on out.
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on.

Freedom’s name is mighty sweet,
Soon one day we’re gonna meet.

Got my hand on the Gospel plow,
I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.

The only chain that a man can stand,
Is that chain of hand in hand.

The only thing we did wrong,
Stayed in the wilderness a day too long.

But the one thing we did right,
Was the day we started to fight.

We’re gonna board that big Greyhound,
Carryin’ love from town to town.

We’re gonna ride for civil rights,
We’re gonna ride both black and white.

We’ve met jail and violence too,
But God’s love has seen us through.

Haven’t been to heaven but I’ve been told,
Streets up there are paved with gold.

Song copyright 1965, 1965, by Alice Wine

Source: Sing For Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through its songs, Edited and compiled by Guy and Candie Carawan, 1963 (as “We Shall Overcome”). combined with “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle” (1968) and republished by Sing Out! with the new title.

“Sing For Freedom: The Story Of The Civil Rights Movement Through Its Songs”, and it’s available from Amazon, and the usual suppliers. The CD has recordings of “Eyes on the Prize” and also the original form of the song, “Keep Your Hand on the Plow.”
It is so easy to forget the many monumental achievements these noble women’s effects have on us all as we go about our daily lives. But, their endeavors should never be forgotten. What they lived and did was a testament to the strength and fortitude that so many black women had to always fight the good fight and never to give up.

(A hatip to Sylvia of The Anti-Essentialist, )


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s