Fit to Be a Slave

from by Baba Bomani

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lyrics

What’s the most you’ve ever gone through to learn?
ever read stolen books under a candle light that burns?
sounding out the hard words as the pages turn
Trying to stay quiet as your stomach churns
From hunger, have you ever wondered when you were younger
If you were never taught your letters and your numbers?
Could only read while those who guarded you slumber
If you did you’d be chased by overseers and slave hunters
What if reading was against the law
And all your mental capability stayed unused and raw?
No books to read, no pencil and paper to draw
Would hide your eyes from every word that you saw?
Young Frederick, he was smart and he was brave
Because for him to read was to misbehave
supposed to be illiterate from the cradle to the grave
A slave who can read isn't fit to be a slave

CHORUS 2X
Young Frederick, he was smart and he was brave
Because for him to read was to misbehave
supposed to be illiterate from the cradle to the grave
A slave who can read isn't fit to be a slave

VERSE 1
Born in the 1820’s in Tuckahoe Maryland
As a black slave he was never treated like a man
They controlled when he was sleeping, drinking and eaten
He saw relatives sold away and his aunt beaten
At a young age separated from his mother
Grew up with the masters child but not like a brother
More like pet, but more than most slaves expect
Something’s his young master got young Frederick would get
That included lessons like learning the abc's
He would sit with his young master as he would learn to read
His young masters mother was Frederick’s mistress
He learned his letters with her assistance
Frederick soaked it all in, like all children he was curious
When her husband found out he was so furious
Told her not to teach him and the reason that he gave
"A slave who can read isn't fit to be a slave"

CHORUS 2X

VERSE 2
Frederick said at the time he didn't know what that meant
But from that day on that's how his free time was spent
He stole his master’s old homework and finished tests
Would bet white boys in the street who could spell their words the best
They'd always beat him but they didn't think of this
Every word that they beat him with he'd add it to his list
When he was older Frederick stole so many books
He hid them where he slept to stay away from master’s looks
He read about freedom and about places for away
And knew that in slavery was nowhere to stay
When he learned to read he also learned to write
he knew he couldn't get out of slavery without a fight
Unless he got a letter from his master he's a prisoner
So he learned how to write a pass and forge a signature
Now he understood his master’s reason that he gave
"A slave who can read isn't fit to be a slave”

CHORUS 2X

VERSE 3
What Frederick read confirmed what he knew all along
That freedom is for everyone and slavery is wrong
Fredericks reading and writing game was superhero strong
He has so many accomplishments they need their own songs
before I make those track, let me make one observation
The to key Frederick’s freedom was that he stole his education
He didn’t have the 1st through 12th, so he learned it with stealth
didn’t care what master felt, reading gave him knowledge of self
so just like Frederick, read at every opportunities
and unlike Frederick you’ve got help in your community
You’ve got to read, the more ideas you have the more likely you’ll succeed
You gotta read, and books can give you all the ideas you need
You gotta read From the dictionary to history it’s necessary
You gotta read, Now follow me, to the library
Frederick used his skills to make sure his people were saved
Because no one in the world deserves to be a slave

You gotta read
The more ideas you have the more likely you'll succeed
You gotta read
And books can give you all the ideas you gotta read
You gotta read
From the dictionary to history it's Necessary
You gotta read
Now follow me
You gotta read
To the library

credits

from Baba Got BARS, released August 3, 2019
Written, performed, produced, recorded and mixed by Bomani Armah

license

all rights reserved

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about

Baba Bomani Washington, D.C.

Baba Bomani, aka the Watermelon man has been using hip-hop, poetry and multi-media disciplines to teach fun and informative workshops with all ages from kindergarteners to graduate students for well over 15 years Bomani . Here you can find his hip-hop music for kids as well as teaching materials showing students the writing process through hip-hop! ... more

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