JIM CROW
(ALMANAC SINGERS) (1942)


THE ALMANAC SINGERS, 1942: BESS HAWES, PETE SEEGER, MILLARD LAMPELL, WOODY GUTHRIE, ARTHUR STERN, SIS CUNNINGHAM (left to right)


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Theirs [the Almanac Singers] was the poverty of rebellious intellectuals. Nights, the group sang protest songs like "Jim Crow"...

By day, their house was cleaned by Ethel, their black maid who earned four dollars for her twice-weekly labor.

David Dunaway, How Can I Keep From Singing: Pete Seeger, New York, NY, 1990, p. 92.


Lyrics as printed in ANTI-FASCIST SONGS of the ALMANAC SINGERS (mimeographed songbook, c. 1942)


Lincoln set the Negro free --
Why is he still in Slavery?
Why is he still in Slavery?
Jim Crow!!

This is a land we call our own --
Why does the Negro ride alone?
Why does the Negro ride alone?
Jim Crow!

When it's time to go to the polls --
Why does the Negro stay at home?
Why does the Negro stay at home?
Jim Crow!

When it's time to go to the war --
Why does the Negro march alone?
Why does the Negro march alone?
Jim Crow!

Freedom for all is what is said --
Free to suffer till he's dead!
Free to suffer till he's dead!
Jim Crow!

This is a Land of Democracy --
Why isn't everybody free?
Why isn't everybody free?
Jim Crow!

If we believe in Liberty --
Put an end to slavery!
Put an end to slavery!
Jim Crow!

(This song was sung in Kansas City, February 18, 1942 by the great baritone, Mr. Paul Robeson.)


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