Lancashire Lads for Lincoln
The mills are closed, the children hungry
Proud workingmen in soup kitchen queues
mixt wi't stondin paupers too,
Ut wilno work when works t'be 'ad.
The cotton hoed beneath the lash
The cotton picked by bleeding hands
The cotton cleaned by groaning slaves
Rots in Charleston warehouses.
For the pure cloth spun in Manchester mills
The fine cloth woven by Lancashire lads
Is dyed with blood
And stained by chattel slavery.
And the men in the Free Trade Hall rise up
Not to demand the blockade be broken
Not to agitate for cotton to come
But to call for the end of that foul blot
On civilization and Christian faith
To call for the day when all the slaves
Shall be forever free.
Night falls on the silent spindles and the idle looms
The factories dark and shuttered
The cold and crowded tenements
The children crying for food,
The slight man wearing kadhi cloth
Depressed and distressed by this misery.
And you whose grandfathers stood with Lincoln
Men and women of Darwen
At Greenfield Cotton Mill
Raise your voices for freedom
Raise your arms for Gandhi
The simple man with a spinning wheel.
Now I'm a child of workingmen
Proud Socialists, union organizers,
Enduring long strikes and hard times
In their pursuit of justice.
Today, as we celebrate the birth of a King
Who invited us all into his dream,
I wonder if this moment would have come
Without the men of the Textile Workers Union
Who went hungry and cold
Fighting slavery in a land they would never see,
And I remember that we shall overcome
Not just because of a few great men,
Or even a few great women,
We shall overcome through the forgotten sacrifices
Of folk who aren't in any history book,
Whose names and lives have passed unknown and unnoticed,
We shall overcome when millions walk together,
We shall overcome
When each of us
In our factories, offices, fields, houses, hospitals--
When each of us spins
Our homespun thread of freedom.