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Sam Cooke

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We all hold onto “hope” about something at times of need in our lives. These days of death, pain and sacrifice bring the emotion of hope front and center as we try to see our way forward. That lingers each day of late for me. I don’t know about you. It’s odd what will bring the need for hope to our attention.

I was doing stretching exercises the other morning and a jazz tune came on I hadn’t heard since the 60s. I asked my wife: “Is that the music to ‘A Change is Gonna Come.’” She thought so, too. I went online to check on who wrote it. I got more than that answer.

It was written in 1965 by Sam Cooke, whose wonderful voice I could hear the moment I read the lyrics.

For African Americans and other people of color in the US, this song ends on a note of hope and displays the resilience of people who long for inclusion and acceptance by "all" of us. We white Americans must join them, and other oppressed peoples, to work peacefully to help each of us cope with the changes required to reset the balance of “liberty and justice for all.” But this time, we must join in this opportunity for the long haul and avoid the temptation and habit of returning to our comfort zones and behind our color lines and zip codes.

A Change Is Gonna Come

I was born by the river in a little tent

Oh and just like the river I've been running ev'r since

It's been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die

'Cause I don't know what's up there, beyond the sky

It's been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown

Somebody keep tellin' me don't hang around

It's been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother

And I say brother help me please

But he winds up knockin' me

Back down on my knees, oh

There have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long

But now I think I'm able to carry on

It's been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

— The writer lives in Huntly 


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