Monday, December 1, 2014

"Marching ‘Round Selma" & "We're Marching On To Freedom Land" (civil rights song)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides lyrics of the civil rights song "Marching ‘Round Selma".

This post also features a video about the subject of that song - the March 1965 civil rights demonstration from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, the capitol of the state of Alabama. A short clip of the song "We're Marching On To Freedom Land" is included in that video. My transcription of that song is also included in this post.

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Marching ‘round Selma like Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho
Marching ‘round Selma like Jericho
For segregation wall must fall

Look at people answering
To the Freedom Fighters call
Black, Brown and White American say
Segregation must fall

Good evening freedom’s fighters
Tell me where you’re bound
Tell me where you’re marching
“From Selma to Montgomery town

I changed the spelling of the group referent "Negro" to capital "N". "Negro" is no longer used as the group referent for African Americans. Since the early 1960s, spelling "Negro" with a lower case "n" is considered highly inappropriate, unless you are purposely referring to a person as acting in a subservient "Uncle Tom" manner.

Here's a note about this song from the Negro Spirituals website:
"Sometimes the words of traditional Negro spirituals were slightly changed and adapted to special events. For example, the words of “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho (and the walls came tumbling down)” were changed into “Marching ‘round Selma”. "
People who sang civil rights songs commonly referred to them as "freedom songs". "Freedom fighters" waas a commonly used referents in the 1960s for civil rights marchers.In civil rights songs the phrase "freedom land" refers to the United States, but a United States in which everyone has is equal rights and justice under the law.

"Demonstrators" was a commonly used term for 1960s civil rights protest marches and rallies. For that reason, the word "demonstrators" was used as a referent for the participants n thos marches and rallies. I don't think that the terms "freedom fighters", "demonstrators", and "demonstrations" have been used as referents for participants in marches and rallies since at least the 1970s. Instead, the term "protestors" is commonly used. Although some people may consider that term to have negative connotations, free speech and peacefully assembling to protestgrievances is part of Americans' constitutional rights.

FEATURED YOUTUBE VIDEO: Selma to Montgomery March

RobertHJacksonCenter, Published on Mar 9, 2013

Vignettes from "Eyes On the Prize" relating to the March 7-21, 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches.
Here's my transcription of the song "We're Marching On To Freedom Land" (heard beginning at 4:18 through to the end of that video)

We're marching on to freedom land.
We're marching on to freedom land.
{We] Got our strength from day to day.
As we travel on the narrow way.
We're going forward.
We're going forward.
. One day we're gonna be free!
"We're Marching On To Freedom Land" may be an adaptation of the Gospel song "We're Marching To Zion", although the tune for those two songs aren't quite the same, and their lyric structures are different. The phrase "the narrow way" is found in Spirituals and Gospel song and refers to the difficulties that a person faces if he or she is determined to go to heaven. In this civil rights song, "the narrow way" means the difficulties people face who are working to get "freedom for all".

For what it's worth, I've never heard the song "Marching 'Round Selma" sung. And this is the first time that I've heard the song "We're Marching On To Freedom Land". That said, the relatively well known civil rights song "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round" includes the very similar line "marching up to freedom land".

I haven't heard the song "Marching 'Round Selma". I wonder if the tune of that song and the tune for "We're Marching tTo Freedom Land" are the same or similar.

Thanks for visiting this Civil Rights Songs blog.

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