[Ed. – He’s right. The line ‘twilight’s last gleaming’ has the same number of syllables and metric structure as ‘let my people go.’]
“Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work,” observed ex-slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass. To the slave owners, singing slaves would drown out their own cruelty and oppression, clothe them in a coerced choir of decency. But it wasn’t enough that the slaves had to sing, they had to sing their oppressor’s feel-good songs that are summed up in the Porgy and Bess refrain of “I’ve got plenty of nothin’,” and nothin’s plenty for me.”
Currently, the song being demanded is the national anthem during football games. But during a warm-up game on Aug. 10, despite President Trump’s previous condemnation, several Eagles players kneeled during the anthem or raised their fists — their way of singing their own song. For them, lyrics like “land of the free” don’t accurately represent the daily reality for people of color. They love their country but want that country to recognize the suffering that occurs when it isn’t living up to its constitutional promises.