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Union singers march on, as CORE remembers 'John Brown's Body'

While every meeting of CORE begins with the singing of "Solidarity Forever", at the October CORE meeting Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey reminded the singers that the origins of the song went into the greatest struggle for "Union" during the 19th Century -- the U.S. Civil War, won by the foes of slavery and the supporters of union. Sharkey, noting that many of us had taught history, reminded the singers that the original song, with its roots in earlier "camp songs", was "John Brown's Body" -- praising the work of the abolitionist John Brown.

One of the many early versions of "John Brown's Body" -- sung by Union soldiers throughout the Civil War, although it was also joined by "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."One of the special characteristics of teacher unionists is that teachers, if you include teachers of "Career and Technical Education" (CTE today; "vocational education" traditionally) is that together teachers possess the skills necessary to build a city. To turn back to the Civil War roots of union songs and traditions, teachers need to continue to insist that the current strangulation of instruction by so-called "standardized" testing be ended so that teachers, teachers for all children, not just the children of privilege and the wealthy, can teach all subjects, from "shop" to history.

JOHN BROWN'S BODY

Version by William Weston Patton:[33

Old John Browns body lies moldering in the grave,

While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save;

But tho he lost his life while struggling for the slave,

His soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

John Brown was a hero, undaunted, true and brave,

And Kansas knows his valor when he fought her rights to save;

Now, tho the grass grows green above his grave,

His soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

He captured Harpers Ferry, with his nineteen men so few,

And frightened "Old Virginny" till she trembled thru and thru;

They hung him for a traitor, they themselves the traitor crew,

But his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

John Brown was John the Baptist of the Christ we are to see,

Christ who of the bondmen shall the Liberator be,

And soon thruout the Sunny South the slaves shall all be free,

For his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

The conflict that he heralded he looks from heaven to view,

On the army of the Union with its flag red, white and blue.

And heaven shall ring with anthems oer the deed they mean to do,

For his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

Ye soldiers of Freedom, then strike, while strike ye may,

The death blow of oppression in a better time and way,

For the dawn of old John Brown has brightened into day,

And his soul is marching on.

By the early months of the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe had composed another series of lyrics for the tune, called "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Julia Ward Howe around the time she wrote the lyrics of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Most depictions of the writer of one of the most important songs of American history depict her as a grandmotherly old lady.BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:

His truth is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,

They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;

I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:

His day is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:

"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal";

Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,

Since God is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:

Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!

Our God is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,

With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,

While God is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,

He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,

So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,

Our God is marching on.

(Chorus)

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah.

Our God is marching on.



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