Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around...
... when yellow will be mellow...
LOWERY: ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.
1. black will not be asked to get in back
2. brown can stick around
3. yellow will be mellow
4. red man can get ahead
5. white will embrace what is right
As one who sometimes writes poetry, I realize within written lyrics there can be both a face value and deeper meaning behind the mindset of the author. I also understand that as a reader of such poetry, we can sometimes attribute meaning beyond that which the author originally intended.
With that said, I can’t help but wonder what exactly Rev. Lowery was trying to express with these words, and if they would have been equally accepted had they been spoken by the yellow, red, or white and changed ever so slightly.
I find it interesting that even in times of claims of calling America to unity, there yet remains a clear division of colors. For where we could suggest that America be a nation where no one is asked to get in back, where all can stick around, where each of us will be mellow, where each man can get ahead, and where we will individually embrace what is right…we would rather keep reminding each other to continue dividing ourselves into individual Crayola crayons.
We’re Painting a Colored Picture; we’re just on different sheets of paper.