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Notabilia: Da Folsom ad Attica, un viaggio nelle prigioni americane (1961-1971)

testo di Jacopo Bassi
voce di Jacopo Bassi
traduzioni di Gianluca Canè

Ascolta la registrazione di questa puntata, andata in onda su Radio Ca’ Foscari il 23 febbraio 2017.

"#64: Visit Folsom Prison" by The Buried Life on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“#64: Visit Folsom Prison” by The Buried Life on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

La cornice: dentro e fuori dalla puntata

La contestualizzazione degli eventi, sul sito il Mondo Contemporaneo.

Sam Cooke, Chain Gang, in Swing Low, 1961

(Hoh! Ah!) I hear something saying (Hoh! Ah!)
(Hoh! Ah!)(Well don’t you know)
That’s the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, ga-ang
That’s the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, gang
All day long they’re singing (Hoh! Ah!)
(Well don’t you know)
That’s the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, ga-ang
That’s the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, gang
All day long they work so hard till the sun is going down
Working on the highways and byways and wearing, wearing a frown
You hear they moaning their lives away
Then you hear somebody say
That’s the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, ga-ang
That’s the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, gang
Can’t you hear them singing, mmm (Hoh! Ah!)
I’m going home one of these days
I’m going home, see my woman
Whom I love so dear
But meanwhile I gotta work right here
Chain gang
(Well don’t you know)
That’s the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, ga-ang
That’s the sound of the men,
Working on the chain, gang
All day long they’re singing, mmm (Hoh! Ah!)
My work is so hard
Give me water
I’m thirsty, my work is so hard
Woah ooo
My work is so hard

Johnny Cash, The Wall, in Orange Blossom, 1965

There’s a lot of strange men in cell block ten
But the strangest of em’ all
Was a friend of mine who spent his time
Starin at the wall…
Starin at the wall…
In his hand was a note that his gal had wrote
Proving crime don’t pay
Was the very same gal he robbed and stole for
Wanting thier wedding day…
Wanting thier wedding day…
As he looked at the wall
So strong and tall
I heard him softly curse
Nobody at all ever climbed that wall
But I’m gonna be the first…
I’m gonna be the first…
Then the warden walked by and said son don’t try
I’d hate to see you fall
Cause there is no doubt they’ll carry you out
If you ever touch that wall…
If you ever touch that wall…
Chain gang
Well a years gone by since he made his try
But I can still recall
How hard he tried and the way he died
But he never made that wall…
He never made that wall…
Well there’s never been a man who shook this camp
But I knew a man who tried
The newspapers called it a jailbreak plan
But I know it was suicide…
I know it was suicide…

Porter Wagoner, Green, green grass of Home, in On the Road: The Porter Wagoner Show, 1965

The old home town looks the same,
As I step down from the train,
And there to meet me is my mama and my papa.
Down the road I look, and there comes Mary,
Hair of gold and lips like cherries.
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
The old house is still standing,
Though the paint is cracked and dry,
And there’s the old oak tree that I used to play on.
Down the lane I walk with my sweet Mary,
Hair of gold and lips like cherries.
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
Yes, they’ll all come to see me,
Arms reaching, smiling sweetly.
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
Then I awake and look around me,
At the four gray walls that surround me,
And I realize that I was only dreaming.
Chain gang
For there’s a guard, and there’s a sad old padre,
Arm in arm, we’ll walk at daybreak.
Again, I’ll touch the green, green grass of home.
Yes, they’ll all come to see me
In the shade of the old oak tree,
As they lay me ‘neath the green, green grass of home.

Johnny Cash, 25 minutes to go (1965), in At Folsom Prison, 1968

Well they’re building a gallows outside my cell
I’ve got 25 minutes to go
And the whole town’s waitin’ just to hear me yell
I’ve got 24 minutes to go
Well they gave me some beans for my last meal
I’ve got 23 minutes to go
But nobody asked me how I feel
I’ve got 22 minutes to go
Well I sent for the governor and the whole dern bunch
with 21 minutes to go
And I sent for the mayor but he’s out to lunch
I’ve got 20 more minutes to go
Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die
got 19 minutes to go
So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye
got 18 minutes to go
Now hear comes the preacher for to save my soul
with 13 minutes to go
And he’s talking bout’ burnin’ but I’m so cold
I’ve 12 more minutes to go
Now they’re testin’ the trap and it chills my spine
11 more minutes to go
And the trap and the rope aw they work just fine
got 10 more minutes to go
Well I’m waitin’ on the pardon that’ll set me free
with 9 more minutes to go
But this is for real so forget about me
got 8 more minutes to go
Chain gang
With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose
got 5 more minutes to go
Won’t somebody come and cut me loose
with 4 more minutes to go
I can see the mountains I can see the skies
with 3 more minutes to go
And it’s to dern pretty for a man that don’t wanna die
2 more minutes to go
I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows
1 more minute to go
And now I’m swingin’ and here
I go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!

Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues (1957), in At Folsom Prison, 1968

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when,
I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone..
When I was just a baby my mama told me. Son,
Always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns.
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry..
I bet there’s rich folks eating in a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee and smoking big cigars.
Well I know I had it coming, I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a movin’
And that’s what tortures me…
At Folsom
Well if they freed me from this prison,
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line
Far from Folsom prison, that’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away…

Bob Dylan, George Jackson 1971

I woke up this mornin’
There were tears in my bed
They killed a man I really loved
Shot him through the head
Lord, Lord
They cut George Jackson down
Lord, Lord
They laid him in the ground
Sent him off to prison
For a seventy-dollar robbery
Closed the door behind him
And they threw away the key
Lord, Lord
They cut George Jackson down
Lord, Lord
They laid him in the ground
He wouldn’t take shit from no one
He wouldn’t bow down or knees
Authorities, they hated him
Because he was just too real
Lord, Lord
They cut George Jackson down
Lord, Lord
They laid him in the ground
Prison guards, they cursed him
As they watched him from above
But they were frightened of his power
They were scared of his love.
Lord, Lord,
So they cut George Jackson down.
Lord, Lord,
They laid him in the ground.
George Jackson
Sometimes I think this whole world
Is one big prison yard
Some of us are prisoners
The rest of us are guards
Lord, Lord
They cut George Jackson down
Lord, Lord
They laid him in the ground

John Lennon-Yoko Ono, Attica State, in Some Time In New York City 1972

What a waste of human power
What a waste of human lives,
shoot the prisioners in the towers
Forthy-three poor widowed wives
Media blames it on the prisioners,
But the prisioners did not kill
“Rockefeller pulled the trigger”
That’s what the people feel.
Attica, Attica state, we’re all mates with Attica state.
Free the prisioners, free the judges
Free all the prisioners everywhere,
All they want is truth and justice
All they need is love and care
They all live in suffocation,
Let’s not wathc them die in sorrow,
Now’s the time for revolution,
Give them all chance to grow.
Attica state……
Some Time In New York City
Come together join the movement,
Take a stand for human rights,
Fear and hatred clouds our judgement,
Free us all from endless night,
Attica state….
We are all mattes…
We all live in……
Attica, Attica, Attica state.

Bibliografia essenziale

Bibliografia

  • BERGER, Dan, Captive nation: black prison organizing in the civil rights era, Chapel Hill, University Of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  • BERGER, Dan, The struggle within: prisons, political prisoners, and mass movements in the United States, Oakland (CA) – Montreal, PM Press – Kersplebedeb, 2014.
  • CHASE, Robert T., «We Are Not Slaves: Rethinking the Rise of Carceral States through the Lens of the Prisoners’ Rights Movement», in The Journal of American History, 102, 1/2015, pp. 73-86.
  • CHILDRESS, Sarah, «Michelle Alexander: “A System of Racial and Social Control”», in FRONTLINE, 29 aprile 2014, URL: < http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/michelle-alexander-a-system-of-racial-and-social-control/ >.
  • THOMPSON, Heather Ann, Speaking out: activism and protest in the 1960s and 1970s, Boston, Prentice Hall, 2010.

Sitografia

Sitografia

  • Prison Culture, URL: < http://www.usprisonculture.com/blog/ >.
  • ARBUCKLE, Alex Q., Jan. 13, 1968: At Folsom Prison The Man in Black performs for the men in blue in Mashable, URL: <http://mashable.com/2016/01/13/johnny-cash-folsom-prison/ >.

Video

Video


Two Centuries of American Justice

Un breve documentario a cura del Dipartimento di Giustizia americano racconta due secoli di sistema penale americano.


George Jackson / San Quentin – Freedom Archives

Documentario su George Jackson e il carcere di San Quentin a cura dei Freedom Archives. Il video è visionabile su Vimeo.


Mysteries of Attica

Una breve ricostruzione della rivolta del carcere di Attica – che ne evidenzia i lati oscuri – realizzata dalla rete NBC con filmati dell’epoca.

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IMPRESSUM

DIACRONIE Studi di Storia Contemporanea ISSN 2038-0955 Rivista e risorsa digitale indipendente a carattere storiografico. Uscita trimestrale. Autorizzazione n°8043 del Tribunale di Bologna in data 11/02/2010 Gli articoli di Diacronie. Studi di Storia Contemporanea sono pubblicati sotto licenza Creative Commons 2.5.

DIACRONIE - Studi di Storia Contemporanea

Portale e rivista di storia contemporanea a cadenza trimestrale.

ISSN 2038-0955 - Autorizzazione n°8043 del Tribunale di Bologna in data 11/02/2010 - Gli articoli di Diacronie. Studi di Storia Contemporanea sono pubblicati sotto licenza Creative Commons 2.5. - redazione.diacronie[at]hotmail.it