Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th Of July Special: The House I Live In

with the original lyrics written by Abel Meeropol, aka Lewis Allen.
What is America to me?
A name, a map or a flag I see,
A certain word, "Democracy",
What is America to me?
The house I live in,
The friends that I have found,
The folks beyond the railroad
and the people all around,
The worker and the farmer,
the sailor on the sea,
The men who built this country,
that's America to me.
The words of old Abe Lincoln,
of Jefferson and Paine,
of Washington and Jackson
and the tasks that still remain.
The little bridge at Concord,
where Freedom's Fight began,
of Gettysburg and Midway
and the story of Bataan.
The house I live in,
my neighbors White and Black,
the people who just came here
or from generations back,
the town hall and the soapbox,
the torch of Liberty,
a home for all God's children,
that's America to me.
The house I live in,
the goodness everywhere,
a land of wealth and beauty
with enough for all to share.
A house that we call "Freedom",
the home of Liberty,
but especially the people,
that's America to me.
on a previous post of a Sinatra version of this song Mike Meeropol commented about his father's displeasure with deleted lyrics
Just a note about my dad's lyrics for the HOUSE I LIVE IN. As viewers of the documentary Strange Fruit know, my father was not very pleased that in the Frank Sinatra version of "HOUSE" a line:
"my neighbors white and black" was deleted from the song (it's in the Paul Robeson version of it ... someone told me a Josh White version also has that line) ...
In 1945, a song that celebrated "all races and religions" in a generic way was okay but no specific mention of black equality. Also, the group of kids in the film version were all white -- they were chasing a kid whose "religion" they didn't like!

No comments: