Ella’s Song

Sweet Honey in the Rock


We who believe in freedom cannot rest

We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes


Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons

Is as important as the killing of white men, white mothers’ sons


That which touches me most is that I had a chance to work with people

Passing on to others that which was passed on to me


To me young people come first, they have the courage where we fail

And if I can but shed some light as they carry us through the gale


The older I get the better I know that the secret of my going on

Is when the reins are in the hands of the young, who dare to run against the storm


Not needing to clutch for power, not needing the light just to shine on me

I need to be one in the number as we stand against tyranny


Struggling myself don’t mean a whole lot, I’ve come to realize

That teaching others to stand up and fight is the only way my struggle survives


I’m a woman who speaks in a voice and I must be heard

At times I can be quite difficult, I’ll bow to no man’s word


We who believe in freedom cannot rest

We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes


Lyrics and music by Bernice Johnson Reagon


Why this song?

Ella Baker played a key role in Civil Rights organizations including the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.This song celebrates her life and reminds us that working for justice has always been a long-term commitment.

Submit a song!

This playlist is a collaborative effort, so your input is not only welcome but vital! Please share a song with us. We're looking for:

  • music that reminds us what we’re struggling for;
  • music that reminds us of why it’s worth the struggle;
  • music that strengthens us when we need to be brave; that lifts up up when we’re feeling lost or helpless; that reminds us of our own power; that connects us through our common humanity;
  • songs we can sing when we’re facing down injustices in the world.