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Protest Songs 1955-2005

                                     
   
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1960-1969

 
   
 

Pro-Civil Rights, Anti-Vietnam

The protest music of the Civil Rights Movement also lasted into the 1960s. The following is another song written by Bob Dylan. The song is about the murder of Medgar Evans, Field Director of the NAACP. He was shot in the back of the head in 1963. It was one of many songs of the time that protested the actions of white supremicists in the country.
 
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"Only a Pawn in Their Game" by Bob Dylan
 
A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers' blood.
A finger fired the trigger to his name.
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man's brain
But he can't be blamed
He's only a pawn in their game.
A South politician preaches to the poor white man,
"You got more than the blacks, don't complain.
You're better than them, you been born with white skin," they explain.
And the Negro's name
Is used it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.
The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid,
And the marshals and cops get the same,
But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool.
He's taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
'Bout the shape that he's in
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.
From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks,
And the hoof beats pound in his brain.
And he's taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide 'neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain't got no name
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.
Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught.
They lowered him down as a king.
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He'll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.

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The other side to the 1960s protest song was the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. Artists such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, and Peter, Paul and Mary--many of the same artists that vocally supported the Civil Rights Movement--sang out against the Vietnam War.

The following is from

"If You Love Your Uncle Sam (Bring Them Home)"
By Pete Seeger

If you love your Uncle Sam,
Bring them home, bring them home.
Support our boys in Vietnam,
Bring them home, bring them home.

I may be right, I may be wrong,
Bring them home, bring them home.
But I got a right to sing this song,
Bring them home, bring them home.

For defense you need common sense,
Bring them home, bring them home.
They don't have the right armaments,
Bring them home, bring them home.

The world needs teachers, books and schools,
Bring them home, bring them home.
And learning a few universal rules,
Bring them home, bring them home.

So if you love your Uncle Sam,
Bring them home, bring them home.
Support our boys in Vietnam,
Bring them home, bring them home.

 
   
 

Jessi Rawlings :: Michelle Nickolaisen :: Jessica Harrison
Carrie Castor :: Alicia Bradley

Jordan/5th Hour Language Arts

9 Mar. 2005