March Around Hatred

Tonight on your TV, the president will be talking about walls.

Here’s a song about a different president and walls:

The Jewel Gospel Singers recorded “The Modern Joshua” one week after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The song connects the murdered president to the Biblical hero —

   Just like old Joshua, he marched around the wall
   And bit by bit, it began to fall

— and then it asks us to look at ourselves:

   You’d better mind how you deal with God’s children

The walls in this song are metaphorical, but they’re relevant to the concrete and steel being talked about on the TV tonight. The Jewel Gospel Singers end with a call to action:

   Let’s march around the walls (’til the walls come tumblin’ down)
   March around the walls, ’til they come tumblin’, tumblin’
   We’ll march around hatred
   Around deceit
   The walls of prejudice
   The walls of ignorance
   Of fear
   The walls of bigotry
   And then love 
   will appear

We’d better get our boots on. And mind how we deal with God’s children.

The Jewel Gospel Singers
The Jewel Gospel Singers


P. S. Thanks for visiting this blog. If this is your first time here: sometimes it’s about music, or history, or music history; sometimes it’s about writing and teaching and the creative process. Sometimes there are drawings. It varies, but on the whole it’s designed as complement to my ongoing writing projects and my radio show, The Lost Child. Please follow the blog if you’d like to receive its posts (weekly, ish) in your inbox. Follow The Lost Child on Instagram for more music — right now I’m posting, every day this month, a new / old photo from the history of Birmingham, Alabama’s fascinating, important, unsung jazz history (the subject of my current book in progress). My previous book — Doc, about one of that history’s key figures — was just released in paperback. Check it out. And let me know what you think. Thanks. Happy new year.