Anne Braden

Lyrics to ‘Anne Braden’

from the color of the faces in sunday’s songs
to the hatred they raised all the youngsters on
once upon a time in this country long ago
she knew there was something wrong
because the song said yellow, red, black, and white
everyone precious in the path of christ
but what about the daughter of the woman cleaning their house
wasn’t she a child they were singing about
and if Jesus loves us black or white skin
why didn’t her white mother invite them in?
when did it become a room for no blacks to step in?
how did she already know not to ask the question

left lasting impressions
adolescence’s comforts gone
she never thought things would ever change
but she always knew there was something wrong

she always knew there was something wrong

years later she found herself mississippi-bound
to help stop the legalized lynching
of mr. willie mcgee
but they couldn’t stop it
so they thought that they’d talk to the governor
about what happened
and say we’re tired of being used
as an excuse to kill black men
but the cops wouldnt let em past and
these women they struck em as uppity
so they hauled em all off to jail
and they called it protective custody
then from her cell she heard her jailers
grumbling about outsiders
and when she called him out
and said she was from the south they shouted
why is a nice southern lady
making trouble for the governor?
she said, i guess I’m not your type of lady
and i guess I’m not your type of southerner.
but before you call me traitor
well its plainest just to say
i was a child in mississippi
but I’m ashamed of it today

imagine the world that you’re standing within
all of your neighbors and family and friends
how would you cope
facing the fact
the flesh on your hand
was tainted with sin
she faced it every day
people she saw on a regular basis
people she loved in several cases
people she knew were incredibly racist
it was painful
but she never stopped loving them
never stopped calling their name
and she never stopped being a southern woman
and she never stopped calling for change
and she saw that her struggle
was in the tradition
of ancestors never aware of her
it continues today
the soul of a southerner
born of the other america

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One thought on “Anne Braden

  1. how would you cope
    facing the fact
    the flesh on your hand
    was tainted with sin
    people she saw on a regular basis
    people she loved in several cases
    people she knew were incredibly racist

    —-These are battles never won in full. All you can do is pass the battle on to others, after a time, as parents live through their children, as their own parents lived through them.

    The successes you seek would be granted, if successful, to people who would not do what you have done. Consider South Africa today. Those who fight for transition don’t get to predefine where success leads.

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