It’s hard to know what to say that I haven’t already said or that someone else hasn’t already said better. And as for continuing this series of Plague Songs,… what to sing this week? My repertoire is limited, but I’ve tried to choose something apt for the current moment.
There are actually four songs in there. The two main ones are the O’Jays’ “Love Train” (1972), written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, and Brinsley Schwarz’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding” (1974), written by Nick Lowe and made famous by Elvis Costello (1978). The very end is of course from the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” (1967). I’ve also interpolated a little bit of the gospel song “This Train” (popularized by Sister Rosetta Tharpe), altering the lyrics slightly. Keb’ Mo’s cover of “Love Train” alerted me to its allusion to “This Train,” and so credit to him for that insight and inspiration.
Looking to help?
As I say at the end of the video, love requires action. So, if you’re looking to help, here are some resources.
- Black Lives Matter
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Minnesota ACLU
- George Floyd’s family gofundme
- For more, check out Sarah Park Dahlen’s comprehensive page of Resources to Support the Minneapolis Protests (Google doc)
Here in Manhattan, Kansas, I’ll be attending the Protest at Triangle Park tonight (Tuesday, June 2nd) at 6:30 pm. If you’re local, I’ll see you there — well, as best I can. (We’ll be doing our best to socially-distance.) If you’re not local, seek the protest in your area or organize one of your own. Black lives matter. Fight fascism. Fight for justice. But please be careful out there.
This post is also part of the “Plague Songs” series, and so I’ll reproduce all of that information below.
Looking for a #PlagueSong to perform? Check out this ever-expanding playlist. Of course, you may have a song in mind that I don’t know — and that would be welcome, too!
- Plague Songs
- Sing. Sing a Song. #PlagueSongs, no. 1 (17 Mar. 2020)
- Do Not Touch Your Face. #PlagueSongs, no. 2 (24 Mar. 2020)
- The Bright Side. #PlagueSongs, no. 3 (31 Mar. 2020)
- It’s later than you think. #PlagueSongs, no. 4 (7 Apr. 2020)
- There doesn’t seem to be anyone around. #PlagueSongs, no. 5 (14 Apr. 2020)
- Be an optimist instead. #PlagueSongs, no. 6 (21 Apr. 2020)
- Kick at the darkness. #PlagueSongs, no. 7 (28 Apr. 2020)
- So far away, but still so near. #PlagueSongs, no. 8 (5 May 2020)
- If you just call me. #PlagueSongs, no. 9 (12 May 2020)
- In the end, they’ll be the only ones there. #PlagueSongs, no. 10 (19 May 2020)
- No matter how I struggle and strive. #PlagueSongs, no. 11 (26 May 2020)
- What Is Your COVID-19 Routine?
- Race, Racism, Anti-Racism
- How to diversify the classics. For real. (Oxford University Press Blog, 11 Feb. 2020)
- Trump is a liar. Tell children the truth. (Public Books, 15 Oct. 2019). His history of racism is one of the truths children need to know. (This is a review of children’s books about the White-Supremacist-in-Chief.)
- Migration, Refugees, and Diaspora in Children’s Literature (ChLAQ) (11 Dec. 2018)
- Context, Privilege, and Pain (26 Nov. 2018)
- What to do with Dr. Seuss? (2 Mar. 2018)
- Was the Cat in the Hat Black? (Talks @ Google) (25 Sept. 2017)
- 7 Questions We Should Ask About Children’s Literature (Oxford University Press Blog, 19 Sept. 2017)
- Racism & Seuss: It’s not a bug. It’s a feature. (A Twitter Essay) (12 Aug. 2017)
- Refugee Stories for Young Readers (Public Books, 23 Mar. 2017)
- The Archive of Childhood, Part 2: The Golliwog (13 Jan. 2015). A revised version of this blog post appears as part of the introduction (“Race, Racism, and the Cultures of Childhood”) to Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature and the Need for Diverse Books (Oxford UP, 2017).
- “The Boundaries of Imagination”; or, the All-White World of Children’s Books, 2014 (17 March 2014). On the occasion of the New York Times pieces by Christopher Myers and Walter Dean Myers, a collection of information and essays about the fight for diversity in children’s literature.
- Disagreement, Difference, Diversity: A Talk by Christopher Myers (24 Oct. 2015). A few thoughts and notes on an excellent talk by Christopher Myers. I quote from his talk in Was the Cat in the Hat Black?
- Regarding the Pain of Racism (4 Apr. 2015). Reflections on an observation by Naomi Murakawa, and on my challenges as a White male scholar writing about oppressions I have not experienced. A few slivers of this appear in “A Manifesto for Anti-Racist Children’s Literature,” which is the Conclusion to Was the Cat in the Hat Black?
- Ferguson: Response & Resources (24 Aug. 2014).
- #BlackLivesMatter — A Twitter Essay (3 Dec. 2014). Daniel Pantaleo is on video choking Eric Garner to death. When a grand jury said there was no need for a trial, I wrote this.
- Again. And Again. And… ENOUGH! (7 July 2016). The murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile inspired this.
- Charleston, Family History, and White Responsibility (22 June 2016). A response to the terrorism in Charleston, South Carolina. Following sustained critique from family members, I removed this from the blog — the first time that I’ve altered a post for reasons other than finding an error or a typo. However, the Wayback Machine preserved the post & I recently added a link from the original post.