History has placed us all, black and white within a common border and under a common law. All of us from the wealthiest and most powerful men to the weakest and hungriest of children share one precious possession, the name American. It is not easy to know what that means, but in part to be an American means to have been an outcast and a stranger, to have come to the exiles' country, and to know that he who denies the outcast and the stranger among us at that moment also denies America. This is a great nation and a strong people. Any who seek to comfort rather than speak plainly, reassure rather than instruct, promise satisfaction rather than reveal frustration: They deny that greatness and drain that strength. For today as it was in the beginning it is the truth, it is the truth that makes us free.
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- by Robert Francis Kennedy (1925 - 1968) [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by David Werner Amram (b. 1930), "History has placed us all, black and white within a common border", published 1974, first performed 1969 [bass, woodwind quintet, string quintet], from Three Songs for America, no. 3, New York, Edition Peters [ sung text checked 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]
This text was added to the website: 2018-09-08
Line count: 14
Word count: 149