TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama and a change is gonna come

Crowds gather in the National Mall, Washington DC

"Looking at the past must be only a means of understanding more clearly what they must do in the future." --Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)

Listen up:

The daddy'g got a confession to make: The inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama as the 44th president proved to be overwhelming. Now don't get it twisted. The daddy didn't go all boo hooing over this thing while holding a kleenex box in his hand. After all, as a reporter for three newspapers city newspapers, the daddy saw things like kids lying face-down in a pool of blood after being gunned down and writing about them with a cool head, finishing up just before deadline. But this inauguration left a brotha speechless and he is still having a hard time writing about it.

Now, the daddy could describe the event: Rick Warren's rambling invocation, Aretha's stirring song, Obama's great speech, and Rev. Lowry's last words (which made him want to laugh and cry at the same time). But here's what he can't do:

* Capture the looks on the black children's faces as they listened to a person who looked like them speak as a respected leader of their country;

* Capture the pride on the faces of older black men and women (some in wheelchairs) showing what they were witnesses to something that they thought would never happen; and

* Capture the unbelievable pride and happiness of some of the old lions of the civil rights movement, the ones who gotten beaten at Selma, outside restaurants and near bridges, now realizing this day, a day when one of their own has become president, one of their own-- Rev. Lowery-- would give the last word.

Now, since the daddy couldn't capture these feelings, he thought he would do what he always does when he can't write a speech or article to do a story justice: play some music. So he put on Sam's Cooke's "A change is gonna come," a song he wrote after he was not allowed to stay at a hotel because of the color of his skin. The music captures the sad feeling, but the words captures the spirit of resistance that no water hose, vicious dog, billy club or shotgun at midnight can ever take away.

The overwhelming thing about today is that people saw change come to America today. Sam Cooke said it would.

Someday, I'll be able to capture it.

12 comments:

Sam's Neph said...

BStrong,

Glad you were inspired as much as the rest of us by yesterday's events. Sam's incident at the Shreveport Holiday Inn wasn't really the impetus for him writing the song, but I'm sure he's smiling on Barack's accomplishments and proud of the fact that "Change" was linked to his campaign.

Erik Greene
Author, “Our Uncle Sam: The Sam Cooke Story From His Family's Perspective”
www.OurUncleSam.com

SagaciousHillbilly said...

*Capture the joy and relief in the eyes of the greying, liberal, socially conscious old hippy who has waited his whole life for a president that echoed the moral values he learned in his youth and has never compromised.

MacDaddy said...

Sam: In brief, what is the real story?

Here's the story I got from an article I read on-line. It said that Sam Cooke had already been interested in writing a song about black people (as opposed to just another love song), a song similar to the song that Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." However, he had just not gotten around to it. However, after he was not allowed to stay at the Holiday Inn, he had to drive to another town, to a black hotel or motel and stay. It said it was there that he started to write "A change is gonna come."

Hey, I love history. I would love to hear Sam Cooke's version of this story, or at least his family's version, of this story.
If you could share a little more with us (even if it would be just a teaser to your book) i would appreciate it. I'm sure I could find our more on-line, but I'd like to hear it from the author himself.

Thanks.

MacDaddy said...

Hey, Sagacious: Yeah, it would be great to capture the relief of some tired but nonetheless committed hippies. What I was trying to do in my writing is capture the feelings who were affected most by racism, blacks of my previous generation who survived apartheid in a country that espoused equality and liberty.

I think some of us relatively younger folks will completely understand this. Some of us will not care to understand. But I challenge myself to write about it so some of us will understand. If I do this, and other writers do this, I think it will deepen America's commitment to never let something like this happen again. Correspondingly, it will serve as a lesson in dealing with other groups too, such as gay and crossgender people.

Sam's Neph said...

Sam wrote A Change is Gonna Come late in 1963, but the reasons were more social than personal. He was greatly affected by the bombing of the Birmingham church in which 4 young girls had been killed that September. A few weeks later, pro-segregation protesters in New Orleans marched 10,000 strong just days after Sam had headlined an integrated show.

The incident you speak of happened in October of 1963--and I'm sure contributed to the injustice Sam was feeling--but it was more an annoyance than a life-changing event. It became a national story when Sam opened his briefcase and calmly paid the bail for himself, his Road Manager, and his older brother without making a dent in the case's contents.

From what I understand however, incidents like Southern sit-ins and boycotts, and Kennedy's assassination that November finally convinced Sam to write Change, and his decision was indeed inspired by Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind.

Hope that helps.

Sam's Neph said...

One other thing I forgot to add...Sam was supposed to debut A Change is Gonna Come on the Tonight Show in February of 1964, but despite claims to the contrary (most notably in Peter Guralnick's Dream Boogie), that performance never took place. Instead, Change was released as the B-side to Shake on December 22, 1964--eleven days after Sam's tragic death. Details of the farce that's the "official version" of his homicide is another story in itself.

MacDaddy said...

SamNeph: So that incident was not the main reason that made him write the song. There were other social issues that superceeded that incident. If so, the on-line piece I read was wrong.Thank you for clearing this up.

Where can I and our readers get your book?

judy said...

daddy, you are poetic and educational, as always.

Sam's Neph said...

I sell my books on Amazon.com under EGreene:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1412064988/ref=pd_cp_b_title/102-5572427-3948109

and on my www.OurUncleSam.com website. Tomorrow would've been Sam's 78th birthday, also.

Thanks for a good discussion!

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Wow, you got some great discussion goin on here Daddy.
I know what you're writing Daddy. I've been admiring your style and mission for a while now.
I just had to add my joy and amazement to the mix.

be strong

Anonymous said...

Hey MacDaddy:

This is James. On these momentous occasions (MLK Day and Obamarama), I would like to thank YOU for being your sphere's conscious during these most tenuous times...You have lots and lots to impart. I enjoy and respect your knowledge and talent. I always will. I'm forever Blessed by having you as a friend.
James

Christopher said...

Nothing wrong with getting emotional over Obama's inauguration.

We will never see anything like it again.

We were witnesses to history and what a history is is proving to be.

Is it me, or does the White House already look cleaner, fresher and brighter since Barack and Michelle moved in?