Freedomways Reader: Prophets in Their Own Country

By Esther Cooper Jackson; Constance Pohl | Go to book overview

34
Northern Ireland Through Black Eyes, No. 1, 1982

JEAN CAREY BOND

Jean Carey Bond, an editor of Freedomways, traveled to Northern Ireland with a seven-person delegation to meet with Catholic civil rights activists and representatives of social and political organizations. The New York H- Block/ Armagh Committee sponsored the trip. Independent producer St. Clair Bourne shot a film of the delegation's visit, The Black and the Green, for public television.

The large Black man in the embroidered dashiki and crocheted skull cap strikes a chord on his well-traveled guitar and invites the youthful audience to join him and his companions in singing one last song -- "We Shall Overcome." The man does not have to lead the song for the youngsters know it well, every note, every word. They sing passionately and with less solemnity than we used to sing this anthem in the days of lunch-counter sit-ins and Freedom Rides and Bull Connor's dogs.

The time is December 1981, and the place is a community center in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The 200 or so singers, whose voices almost drown out the powerful baritone of the Black man on stage, are

-200-

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