COTTIN PICKIN’ FREEDOM RIDERS by Evelyn Dilworth-Williams

When Sister Rosa sat on that bus, she didn’t sit alone,
She had the visible image of the Master on the high throne.
There were passengers on that bus that no eye could see,
She was riding with people who had never been free.

Their time had come to sit and ride anywhere,
The day was now with no time to spare.
Cottin pickin’ time had lasted for hundreds of years,
So taking a seat anywhere was without fear

Ridin’ didn’t quench the thirst of the workers of the fields
They needed more of what a water fountain could give
With their brow, so hot none wanted to think,
They sighted God’s fountains and used by them to drink.

Cottin by now was well learned,
That group wanted real schooling for degrees to earn.
Taking a desk at the schools of their choice
Caused plenty ruckus from the established classes’ voice.

They also had to find a way to get to the polls,
Directions to get there were not always told.
Pickin’ a time to get to the polling place to vote
Was with ease when unity was the design to promote.

The field hands by now had settled some claims,
There was much to do so they attracted some fame.
Saw water hoses used on the children of the cottin bedded south,
Started spreading the idea of boycotts by word of mouth.

People from everywhere caught a glimpse of their plan,
And the ridin’ cottin pickers got support from all over the land.
They marched with placards until their feet were in pain,
Ne’er to stop for they knew that moment wouldn’t come again.

Marching, walking, and singing got them put in jail,
Willingly they went, not knowing who would post their bail.
Even when the newly found leaders gave of life,
They wouldn’t relent just because of violent strife.

The job had to be done and the job was done,
Turning back was left for the total sum of none.
All that took place was not just for you or me,
But for the ones who were born and die not free.

Evelyn Dilworth-Williams
Panola: My Kinfolks’ Land 2003

Evelyn D. Williams