Day 7: Music: The Language of the Heart

June 19th, 2021

Music has been a thread running through history and through the stories I’ve heard this week. Spirituals like “Wade in the Water” and “Free at Last” sung by enslaved people, serving as an oasis of hope and peace in the midst of pain and trials; Spirituals like “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me” that was a favorite song of Carolyn McKinstry, who was a survivor of the 16th St. Baptist Church bomb blast giving her comfort and support through the 20 years of depression following the event;  “Strange Fruit”, written in 1937 by Abel Meeropol, a Russian Jew from the Bronx, who wrote this haunting and powerful protest poem, later sung by Billie Holiday, as a protest of the lynching of Black Americans comparing the victims to fruit on trees; “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” as a freedom song for protesters , giving purpose, unity and resolve to not give up; “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”, the song requested by Dr. Martin Luther King of Ben Branch, a Memphis native, orchestra leader and tenor saxophonist since the Chicago’s Operation Breadbasket Orchestra, that had come to Memphis to perform at a rally supporting sanitation strikers were delayed by bad weather. King never got to hear the song played that night but his precious Lord did take his hand to glory that day.  So listen to the hearts of so many who have gone before you and listen to your heart.

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