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Dark River Singalong

The following excerpts are the scenes from the original opera that have been included in the singalong. The text was written by the composer herself, adapted from Fannie Lou Hamer's speeches and other source material.

i. Freedom Now​

Freedom now, freedom now,

we want our freedom, freedom now.

ii. Fannie Speaks

We are asking you for your help today

to help us in the ongoing struggle for justice.

I'm not asking you to do something I am not willing to do.

I know what it is to suffer and to be poor, cold and hungry

without warm clothing in the winter time

or a warm house with indoor plumbing.

The bottom line is that we of our communities must organize

and become actively involved in the political process.

For this we have formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

We want you to join the Party

and become active in the struggle for freedom.

We, the everyday hardworking poor must do the work 

to secure a future for ourselves and the generations to come.

Thank you.

God bless you.

iii. Fannie is Beaten

Eleven people thrown in jail that day

beaten badly.

They called her a troublemaker,

then they kicked her

and beat her in the head.

They cursed her and called her a fat black nigger bitch!


They beat her with a blackjack.

And she thought she would die.

Her kidneys were damaged,

her right eye was damaged

and her skin turned hard like a rock.


iv. Sick and Tired

The Freedom Party of Mississippi

will have its day in Atlantic City.

The convention will know,

cause we intend to show,

that the Freedom Party is the legal Party.

To hear Senators Eastland and Stennis tell,

"We're all quite happy, and getting along well."

They say in Washington to the folks up there,

"Life is good and they're treatin' us fair!"

But this week at the convention,

we will testify,

we will set the record straight and clarify.

We want the folks up there to know,

we are not satisfied!

In every way the State Party has blocked our progress.

Cutting us out, shutting us out of the democratic process.

We want the world to know

We are sick and tired

Of Being Sick and Tired.

Our day is coming.

The regular Party is a bogus party.

v. Is This America?

If the Freedom Party is not seated today,

I question America.

If the Freedom Party is not seated now,

I question America.

I question America!

Is this the land of the free?

Is this the home of the brave?

Is this the America

where we sleep with our phones off the hook!

where our lives are threatened daily!

All we want is to live our lives as decent Americans

in America!

They shoot up our houses.

They burn down our churches.

They threaten to kill us.

They take away our jobs.

They evict us from our homes.

They beat us they lynch us.

They make our lives HELL!

Is this America?


vi. Delegates Meet​


We are getting strong messages of disapproval,

from the nervous Nellies,

and the Uncle Toms.

The party leaders want us to keep a low profile,

accept the offer,

go away, and let the Black middle class lead the way.

And since we don't agree,

we are not going to bow to them!


No, no, no, no,

no we won't!


While some of them was sittin'

in air-conditioned offices

and riding around in big fancy cars,


We were risking our lives on back country roads

mile after mile in the hot summer sun.

We were working with the people everyday!


Amen, Amen, Amen

Yes, we were risking our lives,

all day in the hot sun

working with the people.

Every day!

All day, we walked, and we talked

All day in the summer sun.

Every day in the hot summer sun,

All day, walkin', talkin' with the people.


Yes we did, yes we did!


We have come this far by our faith


Every one of us!


and we've come here to expose the corruption

of Mississippi politics

and to secure our rights as American citizens.


We're here to tell the world!

We don't need college degrees to tell our own story.

We know who we are.

We know what we want.

We know why we want what we want,

and we we know why we want it.


We know what we want.

We know who we are,

and we don't need nobody else to tell our story.


The Freedom party should be seated here today.

vii. Fannie is Honored


Freedom now, freedom now,

we're walking in freedom

freedom now.


Until the Freedom Movement came to Mississippi,

I never had a reason to believe

life would get better.

I had no more than a sixth-grade education,

with little access to outside information.

I thank God for the privilege to work among you,

As one of you,

for the upliftment of our people.

Today, I am not working just for the civil rights,

but for human rights for all people,

for all humankind.

I want to leave you with a quotation

from the Bible as it speaks to us today.

"Put on the full armor of God,

that you may be able to stand against

the schemes and cunning of evil."

Put on the full armor of god,

and believe yes, we can.

Then stand your ground!

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