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When Will We Be Paid (For the Work We’ve Done)?

Staple Singers
Language: English

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[1970]

This Staple Singers classic brings to light the entirety of African-American history until that point, including slavery, the construction of the railroads, and highways, and demands payment and reparations for the horrors and exploitation of the working class African Americans. "We fought in your wars ... to keep this country free for women, children, man ... When will we be paid for the work we've done?"

from Civil Rights Songs

When will we be paid for the work we've done?
When will we be paid for the work we've done?

We have worked this country from shore to shore
Our women cooked all your food and washed all your clothes
We picked all your cotton and laid the railroad steel
Worked our hands to the bone at your lumber mill. I say...
When will we be paid for the work we've done?
When will we be paid for the work we've done?

We fought in your wars in every land
To keep this country free, y'all, for women, children and men
But any time we ask for pay or a loan
That's when everything seems to turn out wrong
We been beat up, called names, shot down and stoned
Every time we do right, someone say we're wrong
When will we be paid for the work we've done?
When will we be paid for the work we've done?

We have given our sweat, and all our tears
We stumbled through this life for more than 300 years
We've been separated from the language we knew,
Stripped of our culture, people you know it's true. Tell me now...
When will we be paid for the work we've done?
When will we be paid for the work we've done?

(When will we be paid for the work we've done?
When will we be paid for the work we've done?)

Will we ever be proud of "My country, tis of thee"?
Will we ever sing out loud, "Sweet land of Liberty"?
Will we ever have peace and harmony?
(When will we be paid for the work we've done?
When will we be paid for the work we've done?)

Contributed by Alessandro - 2008/12/16 - 08:41

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