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My Children are Seven in Number

Song: My Children are Seven in Number
Lyrics: Eleanor Kellogg(1)

Music: to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"
Year: c.1933
Genre:
Country: USA


My children are seven in number,
We have to sleep four in a bed;
I'm striking with my fellow workers.
To get them more clothes and more bread.

    CHORUS:
    Shoes, shoes, we're striking for pairs of shoes,
    Shoes, shoes, we're striking for pairs of shoes.

Pellagra(3) is cramping my stomach,
My wife is sick with TB(4);
My babies are starving for sweet milk,
Oh, there as so much sickness for me.

    Milk, milk, we're striking for gallons of milk,
    Milk, milk, we're striking for gallons of milk.

I'm needing a shave and a haircut,
But barbers I cannot afford;
My wife cannot wash without soapsuds,
And she had to borrow a board.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
    Soap, soap, we're striking for bars of soap,
    Soap, soap, we're striking for bars of soap.

My house is a shack on the hillside,
Its doors are unpainted and bare;
I haven't a screen to my windows,
And carbide cans do for a chair.

    Homes, homes, we're striking for better homes,
    Homes, homes, we're striking for better homes.

They shot Barney Graham(5) our leader,
His spirit abides with us still;
The spirit of strength for justice,
No bullets have power to kill.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
    Barney, Barney, we're thinking of you today,
    Barney, Barney, we're thinking of you today.

Oh, miners, go on with the union,
Oh, miners, go on with the fight;
For we're in the struggle for justice,
And we're in the struggle for right.

    Justice, justice, we're striking for justice for all,
    Justice, justice, we're striking for justice for all.


Notes:

1 - From the CD, Pete Seeger: American Industrial Ballad, SF 40058, 1992.

2 - Sorry, we could not find out who Eleanor Kellogg was. If you know, we would appreciate it if you would let us know by email. Thank you.

3 - Pellagra is Vitamin B3 (Niacin) deficency. Link is to WebMD.

4 - "TB" is Tuberculosis symptoms from WebMD

5 - There is a bit on the death, or much more like murder, of Barney Graham at Tennessee 4 Me. There is much more on the strike in Against the Grain: Southern Radicals and Prophets, 1929-1959, by Anthony P. Dunbar, ISBN-13: 978-0813908922.

6 - This song is about the Davidson-Wilder, Tennessee Coal Strike strike of 1932-1933