TOO MANY MARTYRS
(BALLAD OF MEDGAR EVERS)

(PHIL OCHS/BOB GIBSON) (1963)

Photograph by kind permission of Scott R. Ealy.

Any copyrighted material on these pages is used in "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s)

Phil Ochs' and Bob Gibson's more "journalistic" approach to the same topic (the killing of Medgar Evers) also covered by Bob Dylan in his "Only A Pawn In Their Game."

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND (on my Bob Dylan "Roots+" page):

Lyrics transcribed by Manfred Helfert from version performed by Phil Ochs (as "Ballad of Medgar Evers") at Newport Folk Festival, 26-28 Jul 1963, released on "Newport Broadside," 1964.

In the state of Mississippi, many years ago,
A boy of 14 years got a taste of Southern law.
He saw his friend a-hangin', his color was his crime;
The blood upon his jacket put a brand upon his mind.

CHORUS:
Too many martyrs and too many dead,
Too many lies, too many empty words were said,
Too many times for too many angry men,
Oh, let it never be again.

Then the boy became a man, the man became a cause;
The cause became the hope for the country and its laws.
The tried to burn his home and they beat him to the ground;
But deep inside they both knew what it took to bring him down.

[ALTERNATE VERSE:
His name was Medgar Evers, and he walked his road alone,
Like Emmett Till and thousands more whose names we'll never know.
They tried to burn his home and they beat him to the ground;
But deep inside they both knew what it took to bring him down.
]

The killer waited by his home, hidden by the night,
As Evers stepped out from his car into the rifle sight.
He slowly squeezed the trigger, the bullet left his side;
It struck the heart of every man when Evers fell and died.

They laid him in his grave while the bugle sounded clear,
They laid him in his grave while the victory was near.
While we waited for the future for freedom through the land,
The country gained a killer, and the country lost a man,

TO TOP OF PAGE
TO RACE RELATIONS PAGE
TO 1960s PAGE
TO "ONLY A PAWN IN THEIR GAME" PAGE
TO "MEDGAR EVERS LULLABY" PAGE
TO HISTORY IN SONG PAGE
TO STARTING PAGE

You can email me at
manfredh@mainz.netsurf.de