I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table (Civil Rights Version)

TITLE: I’m Gonna Sit at the Freedom Table
AUTHOR
: unknown
CATEGORY: Author Unknown, Public Domain
KEYWORDS: song, freedom, woolworth counter, civil rights
EARLIEST DATE: 1922 Florida Normal Quartet, “The Welcome Table” (OKeh 40079, 1924; rec. 1922)—Amazon MP3
white-onlyHISTORICAL REFERENCES: Used extensively in protests during the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. It is adapted from the Negro or African-American Spiritual I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table.

See I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table. This song is based on that African American spiritual. It was part of a play written by the students of the McComb, Mississippi, Freedom School in 1964. 

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • I’m A-Gonna Climb Up Jacob’s Ladder
  • See I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table
  • I’m Gonna Tell God How You Treat Me,
  • Welcome Table
  • Streets of Glory
  • God’s Going to Set This World on Fire

RECORDINGS:

  • Emmett Brand, “I’m Going to Cross the Rivers of Jordan, Some of These Days” (on MuSouth06)-—Amazon MP3
  • Carter Family, “River of Jordan” (Victor 21434, 1928; Montgomery Ward M-4430, 1934; on Babylon)—Amazon MP3
  • Jaybird Coleman, “I’m Gonna Cross the River of Jordan – Some o’ These Days” (Silvertone 5172, 1927; on Babylon)—Amazon MP3
  • Florida Normal Quartet, “The Welcome Table” (OKeh 40079, 1924; rec. 1922)—Amazon MP3
  • Charles Owens w. Isabel Owens, “The Welcome Table” (on NovaScotia1)—Amazon MP3
  • Alice Wine, “I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table” (on BeenStorm1)—Amazon MP3
  • Dan Zane’s and the Blind Boys of Alabama’ “Welcome Table”—Welcome Table

YOUTUBE VIDEO: 

YOUTUBE AUDIO: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART: download
PPT LYRICS FOR THE CLASSROOM: download
BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO: Great Photos

I’m Gonna Sit at the Freedom Table

I’m going to sit at the Freedom Table
I’m going to sit at the Freedom Table
One of these days, hallelujah
I’m going to sit at the Freedom Table
Sit at the Freedom Table one of these days.

I’m gonna sit at the Woolworth counter
I’m gonna sit at the Woolworth counter
One of these days, Hallelujah!
I’m gonna sit at the Woolworth counter (and eat!),
Gonna sit at the Woolworth counter one of these days.

I’m gonna get my civil rights,
I’m gonna get my civil rights
One of these days, Hallelujah!
I’m gonna get my civil rights,
Gonna get my civil rights one of these days.

I’m going to tell God how you treated me.
I’m going to tell God how you treated me
One of these days, Hallelujah!
I’m going to tell God how you treated me
Going to tell God how you treated me one of these days.

I’m going to sit at the Welcome Table
I’m going to sit at the Welcome Table
One of these days, hallelujah
I’m going to sit at the Welcome Table
Sit at the Welcome Table one of these days.

SOURCES:

  • Traditional Ballad Index
  • Roud #11812
  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books
  • Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore (1952), Volume 2: Folk Ballads from North Carolina. Edited by Henry M Beldin and Arthur Palmer Hudson. Duke University Press. [This volume will be indexed on this site in the weeks to come.]
  • Sandburg, Carl. The American Songbag. 1927 Harcourt, Brace, and Company. [This volume will be indexed on this site in the weeks to come.]—Amazon Books
  • Folksinger’s Wordbook (Irwin and Fred Silber), Music Sales Corporation 1973.
  • African-American Civil Rights Songs

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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