I wanted to share this video with you. I had held off doing so before because of a variety of reasons. The sound isn't quite right. Lee forgot her strap. The lens on the camera made it seem like we were in different rooms when we are actually right next to each other. We did not reject Lee! There was also mic trouble. Anyway, we had plans to clean it up or make a slide show, but things didn't work out that way. Still, we thought we would put it out even with its imperfections. The message of this song is important to hear right now.
We hoped that the context would be different. “Marching Together” is an old song from the women's suffrage movement, used in the state of Kansas (among other places) to urge men to support women in their quest for equal rights. It was part of our Reformation Sunday service honoring the 19th Century trailblazer, Rev. Olympia Brown. You can hear the congregation singing it with us. We were proud and pleased and hopeful that the work of people like Brown would finally result in the election of a female president in these United States. As we all know now, it was not to be...at least this time.
Of course, it makes even more sense to post this now. It makes even more sense for us all to learn it and sing it. Polls show that most white men supported Trump over Clinton. Many, many did not support him and I am one of those white men. However, we have our work cut out for us. It appears that our society has not come as far as we had hoped from that Kansas suffrage campaign in 1867.
Now, about this song; Songs from the Kansas movement were collected and published together in a variety of forms over the years. This one comes from a book published in 1909. There is a lot of great stuff in it, including the lyrics we are using. I will link to it below.
Actually, there are other versions, too. After we performed it at church we learned that the tune--also used for a happy song about Sherman's march to the sea--had been used for a song supporting the candidacy of President McKinley! There were also many variations to the suffragist version. However, most of of them played the “mother/daughter” card. These days we should be careful about men defining women based on the relationship those women may have to men (sorry Louis CK). I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton to honor my mom. I did it because she was (and is) the right person to lead the country at this time.
We also chose this version because of the Kansas connection. It is quite likely a version that Olympia Brown would have sung during her work organizing there. I know I have mentioned her elsewhere. She is a hero of mine. A gifted minister, businessperson, and politician, she was the first woman ordained and recognized by her denomination (Universalist). She was also one of very few first generation suffragists who lived long enough to vote, herself.
The song has simple chord pattern which, of course, is best for something everyone should sing.
Bring the good old bugle, boys!
And let the truth be shown
That woman has as many rights
As any man has known;
And let us help her win the fight
She may not win alone
A(7) D G
While we go marching together
G G C G
Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the jubilee!
G G A D
Hurrah! Hurrah! For woman shall be free!
G C G G (Em)
And have as many sacred rights as God gave you and me,
A(7) D G
While we go marching together!
This is our arrangement, more or less. The other lyrics are in that songbook linked below. Lee Manuel set this up for us. Anything in parentheses is optional. 7th chords (in case you don't know) will make it sound old timey. We used them in the video but usually had someone else just play the regular chord at the same time. It keeps things exciting! Don't worry about changing stuff around to suit your style, skill level, and taste. You can't break it. It is a folk song.
So there you go. Apparently some Trump supporters want to take the country back to a magical before-time. Let's give it to 'em and fight the patriarchy the 19th Century way!
Here is a link to that book. It is wicked cool! You will notice that most of these songs are set to older tunes. This is a common practice in actual folk as singing along is a key part of the exercise. Just like hymns in church.