Mean things happening in the land
About the Song
"Mean Things Happening" is derived from an earlier song, "There Is Strange Things Happening In This Land."
There are many different versions of this song with both titles above (as well as Woody Guthrie's "Mean Things Happening in This World"). See the Mudcat thread below for many of these variants of the song. Write your own fitting your own justice work!
John Handcox was an organizer for the Southern Tenant Farmers Union as well as a singer and songwriter. He gave the song a clear political and union focus. Many others including Pete Seeger, Sis & Phil Cunningham (who were part of the Almanac Singers with Seeger and Guthrie), and the punk band Blackfire wrote new verses.
Handcox original version used these lines as a chorus:
There are mean things happening in this land (2x)
The union's goin' on & the union's growin' strong
There are mean things happening in this land
He used a different melody for verses:
On the 18th day of May
The union called a strike
But the planters and their bosses
Throwed the people outta their shacks.
Am - / AmEm Am ://
The planters throw’d the people off the land
Where many years they had spent
And in the cold hard winter
They had to live in tents
The planters throw’d the people out
Without a bit to eat
They cursed them and ____d them
And some with _____ ?
There people got tired of workin’
And that from sun to sun
But the planters forced them to work
At the point of a gun
For other variants go to: https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=80550&threadid=80550