The water dark as the heart
Of the Old South
Beautiful fields, cotton clinging to stalks
Belie the ugliness of so much
That happened here in this
Old South of South Carolina
The train races past the crossroads
And almost not quite towns
Fields and woods and black water swamps
Cypress trunks swollen in the water
How many workers did they kill
In the 1934 textile strike?
No one really knows
Bodies dumped in these black water swamps
Just regular folks tryin’ to make a living
Instead of starving their kids work
That consumed families
Husbands and wives called lintheads
Kids called trash and so much worse
35 years later while we moaned
The killings at Kent State and Jackson
Foretold by the Massacre at
South Carolina State, three kids killed
Almost 30 shot, almost all backshot
Numberless lynchings and beatings
And white on black rape in this land
Of black water swamps
And cotton clinging to its stalks.
Beauty in the Old South belies
The darkness of a heart unchanged
Dreams still denied
Lives still sacrificed for a way of life
That requires poverty and cruelty
And celebrates those whose boots
Grind our people in the dust of crossroads
And not quite towns.

Photo source: jc.winkler on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Originally posted to StewartAcuff on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:59 AM PST.

Also republished by Indigo Kalliope and Rebel Songwriters.

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