Oh Mama - plus!

I Wasn't Surprised

04:41 Download
Kristin Lems
2005-01-19
words and music by Kristin Lems c 2005

Story

This song is dedicated to the families of two black college students slain at Jackson State University, one week after the slaying of four white students at Kent State university in 1970.  Written in 1975, the song is an early attempt to address the many double standards of racism.

Lyrics

1. When our towns were in flame and yet we got the blame

I wasn't surprised

When police stormed the streets and no one came to our needs

I wasn't surprised

Well it wasn't our last and it wasn't our first

My people are killed even right in our church

And maybe I'm wise from too many cries

But I wasn't surprised.

2. When they shot Fred and Mark as they slept in the dark,

I wasn't surprised

When the commission contends it was in "self defense,"

I wasn't surprised

Well it wasn't our last and it wasn't our first

My people are killed in their sleep, in the church

And maybe I'm wise from hearing his cries,

But I wasn't surprised.

3.  In a Southern jail cell, a guard gave a girl hell, and

I wasn't surprised

She fought back and defied, became an outlaw statewide

And I wasn't surprised 

Well it wasn't our last and it wasn't our first

My people are killed in the prisons and church

And maybe I'm wise from too many cries

But I wasn't surprised.

4. Well right down the block, a young boy picked a lock

And I wasn't surprised

The man shot him dead, he was hungry, how he bled!

I wasn't surprised

It wasn't our last and it wasn't our first

My people are killed down the block, in the church

And maybe I'm wise from hearing his cries

But I wasn't surprised.

5. When they shot down my son, nothing wrong had he done

I wasn't surprised

He was walking to class 'cross the Jackson State grass

And I wasn't surprised

Well it wasn't our first and it wasn't our last

My family is killed even crossing the grass

And maybe I'm wise from hearing his cries

But I wasn't surprised.

6. I've seen your children fall and I grieve for you all,

But I wasn't surprised.  

I have known all along that they're mean and they're strong,

So don't be surprised

Well it wasn't your last, it was only your first -  

The day will come round that they'll kill you in church

And maybe I'm wise from too many lies

But I wasn't surprised.

7. I'm bitter as hell, but one thing I'll tell you -

You might be surprised.

If we stand side by side to stop this genocide

They will be surprised.  

For as long as we're silent, as long as we're still

They'll gun us and shun us, you know that they will!  

So raise your voices high in one unified cry

And we'll see who's surprised!

c 1975, 2000, 2014 Kleine Ding Music.  words and music by Kristin Lems.

 

Links to Kristin's Music!
Mailing List
Sign up here for our mailing list!
Kristin sings for you...