Paul Robeson – from Wikipedia

from google

“Ol’ Man River”* with Sister Doris …

Walking down an unknown street,

I heard sister Doris calling out to me,

with a Bible in one hand,

and another to shake and meet and greet.

We spoke as strangers, of me being from the land of Mandela,

of her standing all day at that corner,

preaching the word, as she broke into song,

a song which bound us together instantly,

a song that made us both in the midst of the throng,

for an instant,


She sang from her soul, deep and resonant,

I joined in too,

it was an old song of injustice and of struggle,

of brutality, of the nameless slave,

too many of whom were robbed of even a grave.

Sister Doris and I sang loud, our eyes streaming tears,

two people from opposite ends of the world,

who knew the history of blood and of whips,

of unspeakable pain,

of unimaginable fears.

“Ol’ Man River” echoed for a brief moment of time,

Sister Doris holding her powerful truths,

and I woefully out of tune,

in so many ways, that all I could do was stand in shame,

for thinking, even for a moment, that I could understand the pain.

We parted ways, sister Doris and I,

and today when I look up at the sky,

the blue expanse of freedom way up high,

I feel my eyes water as I break down and as I cry,

still holding onto the conceit,

that I knew, that I could feel, that I could even dare to think,

of the numberless, of the nameless, of the trodden upon ones,

who still slave on,

the souls still in shackles,

who continue to invisibly die …

from google

* – “Ol’ Man River” sung by the late, great Paul Robeson.