Summary of the Song
The selected protest song comprises Champion Jack Dupree’s I’m Going to Write the Governor of Georgia. The song portrays a man who is afraid to go back to his home state. There is a feeling of guilt for leaving to pursue a better future. However, the songwriter expresses the desire to return to his home state. To acquire permission, the song illustrates the need to write to the Governor of Georgia, come back and “bow down on the knees” (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2022). The need to achieve this objective is shadowed by the fear of coming back and facing the people he left behind. Therefore, the song sets a tone for championing a better life in the home state, with respective governments responsible for actualizing this dream.
History of the Song
The song belongs to an album of classic protest songs from Smithsonian Folkways. The song was released in 2009 with a catalog number SFW40197_116. The song is a 3:13 duration piece that utilizes guitar, piano, and vocals to set its tone (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2022). The songwriter Champion Jack Dupree (William Thomas), born in 1910 – 1992, was an American blues and boogie-woogie pianist and singer. Dupree, having served in the military in WWII and a Japanese prisoner for two years, held the spirit of protest and quality life to heart.
Thoughts on the Song
As part of classic protest songs, Dupree sought to speak for the Black Americans who struggled to make a better life for themselves. The need to leave one’s home searching for a better future in America presented the pursuit of the American Dream. However, the people that left their homes and desired to come back were faced with the profound guilt of meeting the people they left behind. The protest aspect calls for state governors to better the home-states for the folks left behind.