HERE'S TO THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI (PHIL OCHS) (1964)

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Related songs:
-- Only a Pawn In Their Game (Bob Dylan) (1963)
-- Talkin' Devil (Bob Dylan) (1963)
-- Too Many Martyrs (Ballad of Medgar Evers) (PHIL OCHS) (1963)

This song might me subtitled Farewell to Mississippi, for in order to write a few more songs like this, it might be wiser for me to stay away for a while. I was down there last summer and must admit that I met some nice people and that the state isn't as bad as my song implies, unless you are a Negro who has forgotten his place, or unless your last name was Chaney, Goodman, or Schwerner.
Phil Ochs, liner notes for "I Ain't Marching Anymore" (Elektra EKS-7287), 1964

Lyrics transcribed by Manfred Helfert from "I Ain't Marching Anymore" (Elektra EKS-7287), 1964

Here's to the state of Mississippi --
For underneath her borders the devil draws no line;
If you drag her muddy rivers, nameless bodies you will find.
Oh, the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes;
The calendar is lying when it reads the present time.
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of --
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!

And here's to the people of Mississippi --
Who say the folks up north, they just don't understand;
And they tremble in the shadows at the thunder of the Klan;
Oh, the sweating of their souls can't wash the blood from off their hands
Where they smile and shrug their shoulders at the murder of a man.
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of --
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!

And here's to the schools of Mississippi --
Where they're teaching all the children that they don't have to care,
All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere,
And every single classroom is a factory of despair,
And there's nobody learning such a foreign word as "fair."
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of --
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!

And here's to the cops of Mississippi --
They're chewing their tobacco as they lock the prison door,
And their bellies bounce inside them when they knock you to the floor;
No, they don't like takin' prisoners in their private little wars,
And behind their broken badges. they are are murderers and more.
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of --
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!

And here's to the judges of Mississippi --
Who wear the robe of honor as they crawl into the court,
They're guardin' all the bastions of their phony legal fort; Oh, justice is a stranger when the prisoners report,
When the black man stands accused, the trial is always short.
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of --
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!

And here's to the government of Mississippi --
In the swamp of their bureaucracy, they're always bogging down,
And criminals are posing as the mayors of the towns;
And they hope that no one sees the sights and no one hears the sounds,
And the speeches of the governor are the ravings of a clown.
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of --
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!

And here's to the laws of Mississippi --
Congressmen will gather in a circus of delay,
While the Constitution's drowning in an ocean of decay;
"Unwed mothers should be sterilized," I've even heard them say;
Yes, corruption can be classic in the Mississippi way.
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of --
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!

And here's to the churches of Mississippi --
Where the cross, once made of silver, now is caked with rust,
And the Sunday morning sermons pander to their lust;
Oh, the fallen face of Jesus is choking in the dust,
And Heaven only knows in which God they can trust.
Oh, here's to the land you've torn out the heart of --
Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of!

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