SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Black and White

Today Jim has us weighing our differences and considering how much they are actually alike with the prompt this week. Jim says: This week we have the oxymoron related prompts of Different/Same and hopefully this will fit for everyone.


“Black and White” was written in 1954 by David I. Arkin (father of actor Alan Arkin) and Earl Robinson. (Both were blacklisted in Hollywood for their leftist views).

It was first released in 1956 by Pete Seeger and again in 1957 by Sammy Davis Junior. UK band Greyhound covered the song in 1971, becoming a top 10 hit in the UK. It was from this release of the song that Three Dog Night decided to release it in 1972 and included it on their album ‘Seven Separate Fools’. Danny Hutton sang lead and this song reached number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts.

When Arkin and Robinson wrote the song in 1954, it was to celebrate the Supreme Court decision on ‘Brown Vs. Education’ putting an end to racial segregation in schools in the US. When it was recorded in 1972 by Three Dog Night, equality was still an elusive dream for many.

Seeing where we are in this country today – again fighting for equality for all – this song seems apropos to share considering that since the song was written 66 years ago, we still do not have racial equality in this country.

This verse which references the unanimous Supreme Court decision was in the original song, but not included in most of the recorded versions:

Their robes were black, their heads were white,
The schoolhouse doors were closed so tight,
Nine judges all set down their names,
To end the years and years of shame.

Black and White (Lyrics from Lyrics.com)

The ink is black
The page is white
Together we learn to read and write
A child is black
A child is white
A whole world looks upon the sight
A beautiful sight

And now a child can understand
That this is the law of all the land
All the land

The world is black
The world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black
A child is white
Together they grow to see the light
To see the light

And now at last we plainly see
We’ll have a dance of liberty
The world is black
The world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black
A child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight
A beautiful sight

The world is black
The world is white
It turns by day and the by night
A child id black
A child is white
Together they grow to see the light
To see the light

1972 recording by Three Dog Night

1971 Recording by Greyhound


Why not join in on this Sunday blogging ritual. Pop over to Jim Adams blog to check out the rules and read some of the great musical posts.

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My Documentary Photography

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Image courtesy of Pixabay (altered)

There was a time in my life I did black and white documentary photography. I learned to develop and print my own photographs. My weekends spent in the darkroom were hours of deep concentration and great satisfaction.

My husband and I took a documentary photography class together. We had each purchased a Hasselblad medium format camera. Working in medium and large format tends to slow you down. Learning to spend more time composing in the frame and properly exposing and focusing seem to create more intentional photos.

As part of this class, we often went on field trips to shoot. One Saturday morning we met at the school early and caravanned to a local flea market. Being in Florida we wanted to get there early before the Florida sun became too hot and too intense. The morning or afternoon sun was always the goal. On this particular morning, we parked the car and assembled our equipment not realizing we would be negatively received by some.

Many people were selling out of the trunks of their cars. Many avoided us and our cameras. We came in with expensive cameras and there was immediate suspicion we were with the government. We soon realized there were most likely a number of undocumented people there selling and they did not want to have their photos taken. As students, we all respected their wishes and just moved on.

Suddenly, an older woman with white hair approached me with a huge smile and inquired about what we were doing. She wanted me to take her photo. It was then she shared her story.

“Look at me. Almost 70 years old and hanging out at the flea market. Would you believe there was a time that so much money passed through these fingertips? And here I am now, selling dolls out of the trunk of my car.” She laughed.

“I used to be a dancer in New York. Can you believe that?” She did not wait for me to respond.

“Wait I have a picture. Let me get it.” She walked around to the driver’s side of the car and opened the front door. In a few minutes she returned with a photo in her hand.

”Can you believe that was me?” She was still grinning ear to ear.

I asked her if I could take a photo of her holding her dance photo. She replied with an enthusiastic yes.

I remember thinking about how life changes. I wondered what happened in her life and was so taken by her charm and attitude about her past and current life. This photo has always been one of my favorites. I never saw her again, nor did I ever know her name. But here she is, captured at a single moment of time in a photo that captured her past and her present.

What a gift she was to me.

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Black and White

Day 320, Part Two

My mind is swirling in a world of inequality today. I made the mistake of reading too many shocking headlines. This song drifted into my mind.

I wondered if it would make a difference if everything we saw was black and white. I looked around my house and noticed the shades of light and dark. One can not truly be seen and enjoyed without the other. There must be a balance.

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If the picture was all one dimension, it would simply disappear. Maybe that is where we are headed. I hope not.

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When I studied documentary photography, we always shot using black and white film. It is the equalizer. We are not distracted by the color. Everything is but a shade of the other.

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Why are we scared of something different? We are all made up of the same chemistry.

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We are not as different as we think. I am curious about why we complicate things.

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It’s funny how the same object looks different just because of the way it reflects the light.

I cannot rest thinking about the children who came home and found no one there to greet them. I cannot rest thinking about why money is more important than human life. I cannot rest knowing the truly evil are unscathed. I cannot rest knowing the rich victimize the poor and our government enjoys this game of life and death. I cannot rest until this is no longer the face of America.