The songs of struggle were the songs of my earliest remembering. Through the records of Pete Seeger, Paul Robeson, Miriam, Makiba, Theodore Bikel, Leadbelly, Leon Bibb, Woody Guthrie, and many others, the sounds of the struggle for civil rights, and human dignity made their way into my heart and mind. It was only as I grew that I began to understand that the songs of the marches often had their beginnings as songs of faith. Twelve Gates to the City served as an anthem for racial reconciliation while speaking of that Day when a multitude from every “tribe, nation and tongue” would gather in praise before our Creator. Gospel Plow (sometimes reset as “keep your eyes on the prize”) held deep meaning both in the church meeting and on the street for in both places these words spoke of the necessity of faith and hope to walk through the dangers, difficulties, and darkness of life, believing not only that God could bring us through, but that better things lay ahead. In these songs I would learn that the life of faith is not a refuge apart, but a bold confession that brings us into face to face confrontation with injustice. There was a direct line from praying “Thy Kingdom Come”, and boycotting buses or sitting at lunch counters. There is something about old songs, spirituals and others, that have a way of speaking to us across time. Songs that have endured often tell us enduring truths. What keeps these songs alive is not so much the appeal of their time as they lay a gentle finger on a truth in our soul that we have sensed but could not say. Whether it is the steadfast love of the “fair young maid” in John Riley, the promise of reversal of fortune for the well to do oppressor and justice for the oppressed in Lazarus and Diverus, or the trail of sorrows that calls us away from our short earthly trek in “Another Man Done Gone” we are renewed in the sense that though things down here are not as they should be, they are also not as they will be. A New Day is coming, and we will surely see it if we will simply keep our hand on that plow and hold on.