Which Side Are You On? (Reece)
Artist & Tune
About the Song
You can read the story of the circumstances in which Florence Reece composed this song on page 48 of our book If I Had a Hammer: A Pete Seeger Singalong Songbook.
Billy Bragg's reworking of the song is the final song ion page 287 of the "Work" chapter of Rise Again.
Here are some newer freedom verses (drawn from James Farmer of CORE, Len Chandler, Annie Patterson & Peter Blood):
Come all you freedom riders & listen while I tell
Of how the freedom riders came to the South to dwell
They tried to lynch those riders, they firebombed the bus
And they still tell us “we aren’t nice” - why do we make a fuss?
My parents fought for freedom & I'm a fighter too
And I'll stick with this struggle until the battle's through
Don’t listen to the president - don't listen to his lies
Black folks haven't got a chance until we organize
How can you stand race hatred? Tell me how you can?
Will you just be an “ally” or will you take a stand?
Another Black man dead, Lord, murdered by police.
George Floyd of Minnesota, your murder was profane
Who will cry for justice when we say your name?
Breonna Taylor, EMT, sleeping in her bed
Cops had the wrong address, they still shot her dead.
Our Constitution says that we can march in peace
But now this right is threatened by militarized police.
That man inside our White House, used a Bible as a prop
Had peaceful people tear gassed, just for his photo op.
They say a few bad apples won’t ruin the whole crop
But when “good police” shield them, it makes them all bad cops
Good people in this nation, rise up and lend a hand
So justice and equality, might begin to heal our land.
"Black Lives Matter" lyrics by Martin Levinson (June 2020)