Black History Month: Spotlight on women’s contributions

Today, I combed the Internets for a video/visual that could really capture some of what Black History month means to me and I found this moving video presentation on ordinary black women:

When you sift through, you definitely will see the greats that your kid sibling is probably learning about: Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, members of the Little Rock Nine, Emmet Till and his mother, Angela Davis, Shirley Chisolm, and Sojourner Truth. But the beauty of this video is the way it captures the everyday black women who labored in cotton fields, homes, railroads, factories, and in many industries that were central to making this country what it is today. But Black women weren’t just laborers; the video depicts them socializing, worshiping, organizing, and surviving, too. And of course they have a few shots of Black women in hair salons! But, the truth is–history is all of these things. And I look forward to celebrating all of this, especially throughout the remainder of this month.

For those who are also interested in the inspiring civil rights song that accompanies this video montage, the song is titled “When will we be paid 4 the work we’ve done?” by The Greene Sisters. The lyrics are after the jump.

“When will we be paid 4 the work we’ve done”

CHORUS:

When will we be paid 4 the work we’ve done

When will we be paid 4 the work we’ve done

Listen…

We worked this country (Say it!) from shore 2 shore (Well)

Our women cooked all your food (Food) and washed all your clothes

We picked cotton and laid the railroad steel (Said we laid it)

Worked our hands down 2 the bone at your lumber mill

(At your lumber mill)

Tell me…

CHORUS

We fought in your wars in every land

2 keep this country free, y’all, 4 women, children and men

But every time we ask 4 pay or a loan

That’s when everything seems 2 turn out wrong

We been beat up, called names, shot down and stoned

Every time we do right, somebody say we’re wrong

Tell me…

CHORUS

Will we ever be proud of “My country, tis of thee”?

Will we ever sing out loud, “Sweet land of Liberty”?

When will we be paid (Tell us) 4 the work we’ve done? (Well?)

I wanna know {x2}

I wanna, I wanna, I wanna know (When, when, when, when)

(CHORUS) {x2}

Why can’t we be paid?

Oh, oh when, when will we be paid?

We’ve given up our sweat, now, and all of our tears

Stumbled through this life 4 more than 300 years

I, I wanna know, the work we’ve done

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3 Comments

  1. Posted February 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Love the montage and the music!

  2. Posted February 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Happy Black History Month and February to you Rose!!!!!

  3. Posted February 12, 2011 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    First of all Rose, thank you for posting the video. I was the one who did the photo selection and design, and this was after hearing the very moving song from the Greene Sisters. I have no idea why this song is not better known, as it asks a question that I am sure many Black women have asked for centuries. I became aware of this post by a friend who suggested it, and to my surprise, it was the video that I posted to YouTube. The conceptualization, design, and merging of visuals and audio was a labor of Love, and I am glad that your posting allowed others to share. Again thank you very much Rose.

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