Freedom Songs From African-American and Jewish Communities

Kim & Reggie Harris, Pete Seeger, & Rabbis Kligler & Waskow SING & REMEMBER, 2/16/2005

Two excellent and well-known African-American singers, Kim and Reggie Harris, have wonderfully teamed up with Rabbi and singer Jonathan Kligler, Pete Seeger, and Sonny Ochs (Phil's sister) to make an extraordinarily powerful and joyful CD of freedom songs from the Jewish and African-American traditions.

That glorious CD is called "Let My People Go! " It includes many songs you can learn for singing at the Passover Seder, or can play from the CD itself if your own Passover custom includes that practice, or can simply enjoy for an evening of great singing and great story-telling.

The CD includes a passage in which Rabbi Arthur Waskow tells the story of how he learned some of those songs from Fannie Lou Hamer, the sharecropper and voting-rights acfiivist who became a leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

In 1964. the Freedom Democrats came to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, seeking to replace the all-white, all-segregationist good ol' boys as the authentic Democratic delegation from Mississippi. They asked some former congressional assistants, Waskow among them, to make some crucial introductions.

Mrs Hamer electrified the nation as she explained Mississippi to the credentials committee. Martin Luther King, on crutches with a broken leg, painfully and painstakingly followed up by talking one-by-one with some key delegates.

And then Mrs. Hamer went out front of the Convention Center to the Boardwalk. She and the Freedom Democrats and their supporters picketed the Convention, all the while singing the songs of Passover in Black idiom: "Go Tell It on the Mountain," ""Go down Moses," and many others.

For Waskow, a revelation. The hint of a beginning of a hint of reconnection to the volcanic energy of Torah.

You can order the CD ($18 each) by clicking on our brown Buy Books button on the left-hasnd column.

The CD is great for your own pleasure or that of your kids, or for an Afikoman gift at the Passover Seder, or if you are a guest at a Seder, a thank-you gift to the hosts who have helped you enjoy your freedom.

Please pass this invitation along to your friends, co-workers, co-activists, and especially to those who are too young to remember Fannie Lou Hamer and that era. As the Passover Haggadah says, in EVERY generation, EVERY human being must remember past liberations in order to make the future free.


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