What songs do you think we can sing to make our history more inclusive of all of our stories?
I started my own walking singing tour company in the belief that song was a powerful way to help make this happen. Some of what I learned is in my book Stayed on Freedom’s Call (last week was page 40…):
” … sounds like an English song coming from the building. So maybe not all Jewish services are held entirely in Hebrew after all. The sounds of a lovely organ float out as the door again opens, while you remember overhearing a Jewish friend describing the upper level of Meridian Hill Park.
You wistfully ponder the uppermost fountain
level, which you never sat in, although you could have passed for White. You feel glad for your Jewish friend who was able to enjoy it, as you listen to another song, again in English, coming through the door:
”Ti’s the give to be simple, ti’s the give to be free,
Ti’s the gift to be where we ought to be…”
5. Mt. Vernon Sq. DC Historical Society / Carnegie DC Central Public Library: 8 th and K, NW
You are a White teenager, in the tumultuous year 1939, going to do some work at the library. As you enter the library, you see all the tables taken, filled with Jewish and colored patrons. You take an empty seat next to a colored girl. It feels strange to sit next to her, since every place else in the city keeps them out, so you never see colored people except doing menial work, mostly. This Easter saw a big bruhaha at the Lincoln Memorial over that colored singer the First Lady had give her concert. She was very good, admittedly, but still, everyone knows that the races really should not mix. That is what your parents said. Leaving the library, a group of colored and white children stood on the plaza, singing a song you have never heard before:
“Lift every voice and sing,
’till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of
6. Chinese Community Church / Ohev Shalom Talmud Torah: 5 th and I St, NW
Oy, what a year it has been! This September, just like that, we will be
41 … “
So, it turns out that I might have needed to explain a bit more about the level of segregation in Washington, DC, too…
1.) What are your thoughts on this page? (You can download the entire book for free via the Archive link below…)
2.) Share your thoughts on how this page from Stayed On Freedom’s Call helps continuing empathy-building cooperation, and may also help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.
3.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.
Click here to read, if you like:
or Long Term Nonfiction & Historical Fiction Writing
Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.