It's been said that "He who forgets his past is destined to repeat it." And I remember those brave souls Who gave their lives by deciding to commit Who, stubbornly, would not yield nor submit And who, steadfastly refused to quit... I look back in awe and wonder At all our sacrifices and strides When we chose to proudly walk Instead of taking second-class bus rides. When we were barred from the schoolhouse door But still pressed on w/a thirst for knowledge, Increased all the more. When we were wrangled and mangled and dangled From crucifixion trees Like Lady Day sang of in "Strange Fruit." And in every court session, the jury On all charges cleared the accused And any nay-sayers had to remain mute. When we had to sit, drink, and eat With never the other race having to see or meet Us As they dined We were never served 1st But always directed to the door BEHIND The establishment so as not to offend The status quo (Don't you know?) So, we surely couldn't be Allowed to blend Partaking of the Divine Rights Of Whites And when we did decide to Sit-In We were swiftly hustled & bustled off To the local County Jail or nearest State Pen. When we were deemed to be "Uppity" and "Forgetting our place" Just for striving to be treated w/basic human dignities Warranted by Constitutional grace When we were beaten and gassed And had clothing stripped/skin ripped By powerful fire hoses How DARED we tilt or turn up our noses At the way it had always been?! And, if we don't WAKE UP, it will be AGAIN!