1. King Brewster

Guest artist Dom Flemons sings co-lead vocals and plays banjo, bones and jug.


King Brewster
By Paula Boggs

Verse 1
King Brewster was my daddy’s daddy’s daddy’s daddy.
Born in 1829 to a slave and her master.
That’s how things were done in Calhoun, Alabama.
No Savior found to wrest King’s mama from disaster.

His confederate brother bequeathed a pocket watch.
As if that could compensate for all King Brewster lost.
By the color of his skin and hum of cotton gin.
No escape from breaking back, burning flesh, being tracked down.

The sun beats hot.
On King Brewster as his daddy cracks the whip like he was taught.
No matter if he’s kin — King’s curse was black skin.
Northern Cross guide your pilgrim home.

Verse 2
As soon as Lincoln said he could, King became a man.
Signed up to vote; bought 80 acres of land.
A needle in the haystack of colored men.
Then Mr. Crow made all that end.

King once again was a second-hand man.
Three-fifths human or so the judges said.
It’d take another hundred years to see a second King.
Fifty years hence the beat goes on.

The sun beats hot.
On a land made by the native and polyglot.
We can’t repave the past— may the future be recast.
Northern Cross guide your pilgrims home.
Northern Cross guide your pilgrims home.
Northern Cross guide your pilgrims.