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Freedom Here

Maria Dunn
Language: English


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[2004]
Testo e musica di Maria Dunn
Lyrics and music by Maria Dunn
Album: "We Were Good People"

"Velma Carter and Gwen Hooks inspired this song. Both women were born and raised in Alberta's Black pioneer communities in the early 1900s and both worked as teachers in rural Alberta. Their families had emigrated from the United States, seeking to farm without the prejudice and restrictions of the American Jim Crow laws. Although they met with no legal discrimination, Black immigrants weren't exactly embraced by a tolerant Alberta. In 1911, Edmonton MP Frank Oliver responded to the fear and prejudice of a vocal minority of his constituents by drafting an unsuccessful government Order-in-Council to bar Blacks from settling in Canada for a year. The song's chorus was inspired by a passage in Gwen Hooks' book The Keystone Legacy: Recollections of a Black Settler (1997): 'Times were hard then, but when you are free, hard times are easier to take.' "
(Maria Dunn)
Her parents came to Wildwood before she was born
Searching for a life away from Oklahoma's scorn
It's laws to keep Black farmers down and Old Jim Crow once more
Old Jim Crow once more

Any healthy citizen, ten dollars in their hand
Had the right to homestead in Alberta's promised land
No thanks to Mr. Oliver who tried to have them banned
Tried to have them banned

Hardly a welcome for a black pioneer
But at least hard times came with freedom here


Her parents taught her hard work, and freedom so hard won
Hard thinking and hard praying when all was said and done
"Your strength, girl, runs inside you, be proud of where you're from
Proud of where you're from"

And only seventeen, a teacher she became
Some white folk in those prairie towns they called her every name
But their narrow minds upon her, lord, they had no claim
Upon her had no claim

For every hand that helped her, she took another's grasp
For every smile of comfort, she smiled another back
For every shout that slapped her, well she kept on striding past,
Kept on striding past

And so she lived an honest life, mostly spent her time
Drinking from the cup she believed was hers divine
And the more that she did drink it, oh the sweeter was the wine,
Sweeter was the wine

Contributed by daniela -k.d.- - 2009/4/6 - 15:10



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