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The Train From Washington

Gil Scott-Heron
Lingua: Inglese


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[1980]
Parole e musica di Gil Scott-Heron
Nell'album “Real Eyes”

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“40 acri (circa 16 ettari) e un mulo” è quanto il generale unionista Sherman promise agli schiavi neri liberati alla fine della guerra civile. Loro credettero ciecamante in quella promessa, soprattutto quei tanti che tra le fila dell'Unione avevano combattuto. La riforma agraria, basata sulla confisca dei latifondi e la loro parcellizzazione per garantire la redistribuzione delle terre alle famiglie degli schiavi liberati, iniziò in South Carolina, Georgia e Florida in base al Special Field Orders No. 15 emesso da Sherman nel 1865, ma ebbe vita brevissima. Nel giro di poco le terre confiscate tornarono ai loro precedenti proprietari bianchi e moltissimi furono i casi di raggiro nei confronti dei neri ad opera di truffatori che si spacciavano per agenti del governo e chiedevano soldi per facilitare il disbrigo delle pratiche burocratiche per l'ottenimento della terra.
La prospettiva di diventare piccoli proprietari, coltivatori diretti, si trasformò per i neri nello “sharecropping”, una mezzadria dove le regole capestro erano fatte dai latifondisti bianchi di sempre e che istituivano un nuovo sistema di schiavitù, questa volta pienamente “legale”.



“40 acres and a mule” divenne ben presto un'espressione per indicare un ingenuo, un credulone, un ignorante che si beve le panzane, come chi crede a Babbo Natale...

Eppure lo storico Walter Lynwood Fleming (1874–1932) scriveva nel suo saggio “Forty Acres and a Mule” pubblicato nel 1906:

“For several years after the close of the Civil War, the negroes of the South believed that the estates of the whites were to be confiscated by the Washington Government, and that each negro head of a family would obtain from the property thus confiscated 'forty acres and a mule.' Some old negroes still believe that the homestead and the mule will be given to them. This belief has often, especially in late years, been ridiculed as the childish dream of an ignorant people; for it is assumed that the negro had no reason for expecting land and stock from the Government. The purpose of this paper is to show that the expectations of the blacks were justified by the policies of the Government and the actions of its agents, and also to show that rascals took advantage of these expectations to swindle the ignorant freedmen.”



Non è un caso se “ 40 acres and a mule” è il nome scelto dal grande regista afroamericano Spike Lee per la sua casa di produzione...
During reconstruction time they were folks who have been promised 40 acres and a mule.
And they were told a man with their legal papers could be expected on a train from Washington.
They were folks who waited for him and there are folks still waiting for him.
But you can't depend on the train from Washington, it's 100 years overdue...

You can depend on the stars and planets yeah
They'll always tell you the truth
You can depend on the 15th of April Yeah
Somehow it always gets through
You can depend on the daily paper's calls
They surely bring you the blues
But don't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue

I see people, dragging on their own
I see them standing
Anxious near the tracks
I see people, a long long way from home
Wondering how they'll ever get back

You can depend on the politicians yeah
Always got a point of view
They are contemporary court magicians yeah
Sleight of mouth will dazzle you
You can depend on the repositions from them
Changes that you've got to go through
But don't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue

I see people, on their way to work
I see factories bursting at the seams
I see people listening for the whistle
On the train that will carry their dreams

I see people, on their way to work
I see factories bursting at the seams
I see people listening for the whistle
On the train that will carry their dreams

You can depend on the folks and gravity
Cuz both of them will bring you down
You can depend on catching something Yeah
Cause something is going around
You can depend on the first two numbers, but
Damn if the last one come through
But don't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue

You can't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue
Oh lord you see
You can't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue
Don't you over
But don't depend on the train from Washington
Eh eh eh eh you know it might not make it
You can't depend on the train from Washington
Everybody knows it's it's it's running late
You can't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue
It's long long time
You can't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue...

inviata da Bernart Bartleby - 12/2/2017 - 12:45



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