The following comes from Amanda Palmer:
connecting the dots in ferguson, care of my dad, jack palmer.
"Almost exactly fifty years ago James Powell, a 15-year old black, was shot and killed by a policeman in New York City. The ensuing riots lasted a week, resulting in one death and some 500 injuries. The policeman claimed he had been attacked with a knife, seen by none of the eyewitnesses to the shooting, and was cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury. Soon after, Phil Ochs wrote “In the Heat of the Summer.”
“In the Heat of the Summer”
In the heat of the summer
While the pavements were burning
The soul of the city was ravaged in the night
After the city sun was sinking
Down the street they were rumbling
Bricks were heavily flying
Oh where, oh where were the white silver tongues
Who forgot to listen to the warnings?
Drunk with the memory of the ghetto
Drunk with the lure of the looting
And the memory of the uniforms shoving with their sticks
Asking “Are you looking for trouble?”
“No, no, no,” moaned the mayor
"That’s not the way of the order
Stay in your homes, please leave us alone
We’ll be glad to talk in the morning.”
“For shame, for shame,” wrote the papers
“Why the hurry to your hunger?
Now the rubble’s resting on your broken streets
And you see what your rage has unraveled.”
And when the fury was over
Shame was replacing the anger
So wrong, so wrong, but we’ve been down too long
And we had to make somebody listen.
Into its third century, our country is still dealing with all the noxious results of racial intolerance, now compounded by inequality and diminished expectations. “Where, oh where were the white silver tongues?” indeed.