Children’s Miracle


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words & music by Peter Amidon

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      Children's Miracle

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Here are: full piano/SATB score, piano score, vocal score, and lyric sheet.

This can also be sung as a solo ballad singing to guitar, banjo or piano. This is a most extraordinary story when, in May 1963, thousands of children marched from school to the 16th Street Baptist Church, to the streets of Birmingham, to jail in support of the Civil Rights Movement. Their actions and courage resulted in the end of segregation laws in Birmingham and helped re-energize the national Civil Rights movement that ultimately brought about the Voting Rights Act.  I learned the story from Chapters 18-20 in Taylor Branch’s book “Parting of the Waters” and from the Academy Award winning documentary The Children’s March. Here is shorter Youtube on the Children’s March.


The Children’s Miracle
words by Peter Amidon
©2006 Amidon Music Publishing
The year was 1963,
Alabama was the state,
Birmingham was a city
Divided by hate, hate,
Divided by hate.

Now Dr. King was working
To integrate that town
But now his freedom movement
Was grinding to the ground,
Was grinding to the ground.

“I’ve done all that’s in my power
And everything has failed.”
He got into his work clothes
And he marched right off to jail, jail,
He marched right off to jail.

But hold the presses,
Just before they locked the door
He made a phone call to a friend
Said, ‘This will be your hour, brother,
This will be your hour.”

James Bevel was the savior,
Inspired if a bit unsound,
He said ‘We need to fill the jails,
To turn this thing around, round
To turn this thing around.

Since the older folks might lose their jobs
Their cars and their homes
We’ll fill the jails with Negro’s
Who are not so fully grown, grown
They’re not so fully grown.

He called the children,
The little girls and boys,
You’ve got important work to do,
You put away your toys, toys,
You put away your toys.

They started with every cheerleader
And athlete in the town;
They even got the beauty queens
To spread the word around, round,
To spread the word around.

Bevel called up Shelley ‘Playboy’
Shelley broadcast a secret code
So kids know where and when, when,
The kids know where and when.

Here comes DDay
Put a toothbrush in your pack;
Once we start this thing,
We’re never turning back, back,
We’re never turning back.

When King got out of prison
He searched his soul in pain.
“How can we let our children
Suffer for our gain, gain,
They’ll suffer for our gain.”

But Bevel had inspired
A fire in every young heart,
There’s nothin’ gonna stop us
Or break us apart, part
Or break us apart.

The signal’s given,
And out of school they poured
They jumped out from the windows
And they ran from every door, door,
They ran from every door.

The Baptist Church on 16th Street
Was the meeting place for all,
They gathered with the grownups
And they waited for the call, call
They waited for the call.

We’re talking on the 2nd day
Of May in ’63,
That Bevel opened the Church’s door
Set those children free, free
He set those children free.

You come arrest us
You lock us all away,
And when the world sees what you’ve done
What do you think they’ll say, say,
What do you think they’ll say?

They were let out in staggered groups
Of 50 at a time,
And as each group was whisked to jail
There were five more groups behind, hind,
Five more groups behind.

9 hundred and 73 children
Were arrested that first day,
At 16th Street that evening
The parents came to pray, pray
The parents came to pray.

Martin Luther,
Oh Dr. King, they cried
When will we see our babies,
Our precious love and pride, pride
Our precious love and pride.

“Don’t worry about your children,
They’re gonna be just fine
They’re doing a job for America
A job for all mankind, kind,
A job for all mankind.”

This struggle set in motion
A shifting of the tide towards
Giving equal rights to every
Woman, man and child, child
Woman man and child.

Thank you children
Just look what you have done,
You marched and sang and conquered fear
And you have overcome, Lordy,
You have overcome.

Yes, thank you children
Just look what you have done,
You marched and sang and conquered fear
You have overcome, children,
You have overcome.