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{SPEAKER name="Theodore Bikel"}
Because there is no experience that equals that that you have.
[00:11:50]
But having been born, as you heard in a country and spent my young years, my childhood years, in a country
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Where it was almost as vile to be called a Jew, as it is now to be called a Negro in Mississippi or Alabama or Georgia.
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Where I can remember the blows and the spittle on my face and the insults and the beatings,
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because a kid, and i was a kid in those days doesn't forget these things.
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And with the first, about a month ago when I went down to Birmingham and Albany,
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with the first steele helmet that I saw and the first rubber hose and the first sub machine gun in the streets
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it was as if there had been no intervening period of time.
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No time had passed and whether or not these people were wearing swastikas like Hitler's storm trooper,
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they were all over again my enemies and all over again I was on the receiving end of the blows and of the insults.
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Well, you in those days I guess, might have been called a Jew lover, if you had happened to be in my company.
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I return doubly, triply, and ten fold the compliment by proudly being what they call me a nigger lover.
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Now they called me that on the air three days ago in Boston.
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Somebody called up in the middle of a broadcast and called me that name.
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And they didn't wipe it off the air, they left it on there and I was glad that they did
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because I want the people to hear these names and I want them to be shocked by it.
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You see, I have, aah,
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a long time ago learned that freedom is not something that is divisible or that is something that you can win, fight for and then store away in a closet.
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You have to fight for it in every year and in every generation and in every country and among every people.
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It isn't something that you've gotten once and then you have it
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because every now, every year, somebody comes up, every now and again somebody else comes up, to try and take it away from you.
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And I know and that's why I am here today and that's why I shall be here every single time that I'm asked.
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That's why I lend my time and my energy and my name and whatever else it is that I have to the cause
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because I know that being an American citizen, and proud to be one, and glad to be one but not blind to the faults.
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That I cannot, ever be free until every single one of you is.
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[[Applause]]
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Now, these freedom so...there's a very strange thing about freedom songs.
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They, aah, resemble each other. You know, I sing in nineteen languages
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I was at one time become-gonna become a professor of languages and got sidetracked.
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And love songs for instance are different in every country
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because you know its a question of temperament and a question of the foods they eat and all.
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But freedom songs are very similar
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because the underlining emotion that drives people to strive for freedom and to shake off shackles and the yoke
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and deprivation and hardship, that's the same in every country. And incidentally people who have not known this deprivation,
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this hardship, hardly ever sing. It's a curious fact.
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Now, I'd like to....I'm glad th-that we're in this county
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I understand that one of the senators of Mississippi has-makes his home or hails from this county.
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Well, I have news for him. I can-- I can-- I'd be able to sing a song now which was written by a young fellow
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whose ancestors were here when Eastland hadn't even arrived on these shores.
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And he's a young Indian--American Indian fellow--whose ancestors of course were on the reception committee of Senator Eastland's arrival when he came here by whatever means he came by--boat I guess.
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And, or his great-great-grandfather. And, uh, he wrote a song that has, to me, a very spiritual value because it speaks both of the faith of the glory of God and the freedom.
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I know I got a long long journey singing - hallelujah.
I better getting started early singing hallelujah.
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Sing out for the Lord to help you, for the Lord is mighty strong
Don't worry about your heavy load, the Lord's gonna help you along
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I better get on down to the river Jordan - singing hallelujah
the road to heaven is a-warm an burning - singing hallelujah
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Sing out for the Lord to help you, for the Lord is mighty strong
Don't worry about your heavy load, the Lord's gonna help you along
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Last night I heard my Lord a-calling - singing hallelujah
Sinner you will better quit your sterling - singing hallelujah
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Sing out for the Lord to help you, for the Lord is mighty strong
Don't worry about your heavy load, the Lord's gonna help you along
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I know I went to river of Jordan - singing hallelujah
The road to freedom is a-warm an burning - singing hallelujah
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Sing out for the Lord to help you, for the Lord is mighty strong
Don't worry about your heavy load, the Lord's gonna help you along
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I know got a long long journey - singing hallelujah
I better get started early - singing hallelujah
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Sing out for the Lord to help you, for the Lord is mighty strong
Don't worry about your heavy load, cause the Lord's gonna help you along
Don't worry about your heavy load, cause the Lord's gonna help you along
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[[Applause]]
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There's umm... toon that came out. We had a, oh I see, the leaflets have been passed around. There is a toon which ran about in the 1920s, I wasn't around then.
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Eh, you see, I'm fallen into this predicament. I am too old to be a student and too young to be an old man. So um... I'm in a movement.[[applause]] Jim has to say that because he is too old to be a student too.
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Um... they sang a, they sang a song that was among my people who were very poor. And they were working in sweatshops and all sort of conditions that was subhuman and the bosses were always told them to get lost when they needed another nickel to buy milk for the baby.
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And they sang a song which I translated and you have the words there. And it too, curiously enough, has to do with a hammer. Why is it that all of us have preoccupations with hammers when we speak of freedom?
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I'll sing you one verse in the original language and then, then we will sing the ones in English and where they go.
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[[plays guitar and sings in foreign language]]
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{SPEAKER name="Theodore Bikel"} sings:
Rough as you that [flowen?] soul, you that feed and you that mold,
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wield your hammer night and day, tell me if your sweat is worth the pain.
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cling,clong, cling, clong Listen to the hammer song, cling,clong, cling, clong, we'll break the yoke, boys, it won't be long [[repeats]]
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Who prepares your evening meal? And who cares, but we feel fear.
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When you die, will someone mourn? To what purpose, tell me where you born.
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cling,clong, cling, clong, Listen to the hammer song, cling,clong, cling, clong we'll break the yoke, boys, it won't be long
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Now awake, the ends in sight. See your power feel your might. Were it not, for your strong hand.
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Not a wheel could turn in all the land.
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cling,clong, cling, clong, Listen to the hammer song, cling,clong, cling, clong, we'll break the yoke, boys, it won't be long
cling,clong, cling, clong, Listen to the hammer song, cling,clong, cling, clong, we'll break the yoke, boys, it won't be long
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[[Crowd cheers]]
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[[Plays guitar]]
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{SPEAKER name="Theodore Bikel"}:
Well, see I have um, various, um as you were told, various side occupations.
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I have various main occupations cause I wear a lot of hats,
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uh, apart from being active in civil rights and i-in
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causes that one believes in. In order to be able to live, I sometimes sing songs
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and I sometimes act and in my capacity as an actor somebody reminded me today in the car.
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I don't know if this movie was shown in Mississippi, but surprise me if it was there was a movie called "The Defiant Ones"
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Which um, I, um, played the sheriff in because I believed that the movie should have been made.
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Because it was about two prisoners, a white man and a black man, who were chained together and managed to break away-
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out of prison- hating each other's guts and everyone who was after them,
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said "Don't worry they're going to kill each other before they go five miles".

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