The Ballad of Rosa Parks

White folks only. Black folks only.

Labels on the seat.

Black folks only seats are full,

but shes dead on her feet.

 

Driver says “you gotta move”.

If there’s not seats, just stand”.

But there are lots of empty seats

up front in “white folks” land.

(chorus)

 

I shall not stand.  I shall not cede,

and you forget that we were freed.

This segregation will not do

because I’m not as pale as you.

 

Why does the color of my skin

decide which seat I’m sitting in?

I shall not follow your command.

I won’t give in.  I shall not stand.

The driver brakes, and then he stops.

“I’ll give you one more chance

to get the hell out of that seat”,

but she retains her stance.

 

The cops are called.  The route is stalled

as they take her away.

But she is right.  A bigger fight

gets underway that day.

 

(chorus)

 

I shall not stand.  I shall not cede,

and you forget that we were freed.

This segregation will not do

because I’m not as pale as you.

 

Why does the color of my skin

decide which seat I’m sitting in?

I shall not follow your command.

I won’t give in.  I shall not stand.

She lights a fire neath bigotry.

A bus boycott begins.

Her bravery makes history.

In U. S. court, she wins.

 

An icon now of civil rights,

she lights the early sparks

that burn for true equality,

this hero... Rosa Parks.

(chorus)

 

I shall not stand.  I shall not cede,

and you forget that we were freed.

This segregation will not do

because I’m not as pale as you.

 

Why does the color of my skin

decide which seat I’m sitting in?

I shall not follow your command.

I won’t give in.  I shall not stand.

 

— David D. Irby, Halifax