Songs of Freedom - February 26, 2017
Think what these songs meant in a world where black slaves were told they had no inner light; think what they meant to freed men and women subject to the laws and terror of Jim Crow; think what they still mean today: Today, when the unemployment rate is double for African Americans when compared to that of whites; when African Americans make up 35 % of the prison population but constitute only about 13 % of the general population; when five times as many white people as African Americans use drugs but ten times as many African Americans as whites are in jail for drug related crimes; when across all levels of education and income, black infants are twice as likely to die in their first year of life as white infants; when black students are four times as likely as white ones to be suspended from school for the same offenses. The effects of slavery are still with us. No wonder these songs still have the power to move people to weep and to hope. Their affirmation of hope in the midst of suffering, of a just future, of the bonds of community still needs to be heard. And we need to support African Americans in singing these songs until the world of freedom, justice, and equality they envisioned has been realized.
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