The State House Lawn

He was listening to voices, talking in his head
If you grew up in America you know exactly what they said
And with every job we lose, however bad things get
There’s a black man in the White House on the TV set
And we can blame it all on him and his entire race
Because they no longer know their place

You can hear the voices and by the early light of dawn
You can see the flag waving on the State House Lawn

He was listening to voices, you could say that he was crazy
For thinking certain people are just born to be lazy
He could see it on the cop shows, they don’t know right from wrong
The race war is coming and now it won’t be long
I promise it was not his original notion
If you want to start a war, first you have to set the war in motion


He was listening to voices who said the conflict’s coming soon
And he walked into the church on the 17th of June
The very date of the rebellion that never was to be
For which 35 were hanged in that very city
For which the church was burned, for which the church was banned
For which there’s been no atonement in a sick and troubled land


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“State House Lawn” appears on the 2015 Bandcamp album and CD, The Other Side.

When Dylann Roof walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on the evening of June 17, 2015, he knew what he was doing.  When he killed 9 people, including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C. Pinckney, he did so because he was a white supremacist hoping to start a race war, influenced by racist ideologues he had come into contact with.  The timing of the massacre was presumably no accident — on the anniversary of the date of a planned uprising that was foiled by the authorities, which resulted in the public hanging of Denmark Vesey — one of the founders of the church — along with 34 other alleged abolitionist conspirators in 1822.