Langston Hughes

Freedom Train

                        I read in the papers about the
                               Freedom Train.
                        I heard on the radio about the 
                               Freedom Train. 
                        I seen folks talkin' about the 
                               Freedom Train. 
                        Lord, I been a-waitin' for the 
                               Freedom Train!
Down South in Dixie only train I see's
Got a Jim Crow car set aside for me.
I hope there ain't no Jim Crow on the Freedom Train,
No back door entrance to the Freedom Train,
No signs FOR COLORED on the Freedom Train,
No WHITE FOLKS ONLY on the Freedom Train.

                         I'm gonna check up on this                                
                                Freedom Train.

Who's the engineer on the Freedom Train?
Can a coal black man drive the Freedom Train?
Or am I still a porter on the Freedom Train?
Is there ballot boxes on the Freedom Train?
When it stops in Mississippi wil it be made plain
Everybody's got a right to board the Freedom Train?

                          Somebody tell me about this
                                 Freedom Train!

The Birmingham station's marked COLORED and WHITE.
The white folks go left, the colored go right--
They even got a segregated lane.
Is that the way to get aboard the Freedom Train?

                            I got to know about this
                                  Freedom Train!

If my children ask me, Daddy, please explain
Why there's Jim Crow stations for the Freedom Train?
What shall I tell my children?...You tell me--'
Cause freedom ain't freedom when a man ain't free.

                            But maybe they explains it on the
                                  Freedom Train.

When my grandmother in Atlanta, 83 and black,
Gets in line to see the Freedom,
Will some white man yell, Get back!
A Negro's got no business on the Freedom Track!

                            Mister, I thought it were the
                                  Freedom Train!

Her grandson's name was Jimmy. He died at Anzio.
He died for real. It warn't no show.
The freedom what they carryin' on this Freedom Train,
Is it for real--or just a show again?

                             Jimmy wants to know about the
                                  Freedom Train.

Will his Freedom Train come zoomin' down the track
Gleamin' in the sunlight for white and black?
Not stoppin' at no stations marked COLORED nor WHITE.
Just stoppin' in the fields in the broad daylight,
Stoppin' in the country in the wide-open air
Where there never was no Jim Crow signs nowhere,
No Welcomin' Committees, nor Politicians of note,
No Mayors and such for which colored can't vote,
And nary a sign of a color line--
For the Freedom Train will be yours and mine!
Then maybe from their graves in Anzio
The G.I.'s who fought will say, We wanted it so!
Black men and white will say, Ain't it fine?
At home they got a train that's yours and mine!

                              Then I'll shout, Glory for the
                                   Freedom Train!
                              I'll holler, Blow your whistle,
                                   Freedom Train!
                              Thank God-A-Mighty! Here's the
                                   Freedom Train!
                              Get on board our Freedom Train!

spoken = Rotimi Agbabiaka