Tune: "The Popular Wobbly"/"They Go Wild Over Me"

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My stomach always hurt a little on the way to a sit-in. I guess it's the unexpected. There was so much we didn't know early in February, 1960, when the sit-ins first started in Nashville. Will the sit-ins accomplish anything? Will non-violence work? What happens when demonstrators are put in jail?...

During the demonstrations I found myself and the few other white students singled out by the crowds, called different names and eventually even segregated in the Nashville City Jail. Eighty of us were arrested the first time. It was one of the first instances where large number of students went behind bars, and we found that singing was truly good for the spirit. For two white girls, alone in a cell and only in sound's reach of the other students, the music offered a bond of friendship and support.

Candie Anderson [Carawan], reprinted in Guy and Candie Carawan, Sing for Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through its songs, Bethlehem, PA, 1990, p. 20.

Lyrics as reprinted ibid., pp. 20-21.

I'm as mild mannered man [girl] as can be,
And I've never done no harm that I can see.
Yet on me they put a ban, they would throw me in the can,
They go wild, simply wild, over me.

Oh, the manager he went wild over me.
When I went one afternoon and sat for tea.
He was breathin' mighty hard, when his pleas I'd disregard,
He went wild, simply wild, over me.

Then the judge, he went wild over me.
And I plainly saw we never could agree;
So I let his nibs obey what his conscience had to say,
He went wild, simply wild, over me.

Then the jailer, he went wild over me,
Well, he locked me up and threw away the key;
In a segregated cage I'd be kept, it was the rage,
He went wild, simply wild, over me.

They go wild, simply wild, over me,
I'm referring to the bedbug and the flea;
They disturb my slumber deep, they would rob me of my sleep,
They go wild, simply wild, over me.

Will the roses grow wild over me
When I'm gone into that land that is to be?
When my soul and body part, in the stillness of my heart,
Will the roses grow wild over me?

Will my children go wild or go free
When it's time for them to go to town for tea?
Will those bedsheet wearin' whites still yell "Down with Civil Rights"
Or will justice have come to Tennessee?

TO 1960s PAGE

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