Owing a Still Unacknowledged Debt

He watched four, talented white men sing
rock and roll songs from the 50s on —
most songs written and sung originally by

blacks and white rockers who got their best
ideas from blacks and the white boys did a
more than credible job at seemingly making

a career and living out of it, a much better
living than those original black writers and
singers. It was thoroughly enjoyable and he

kept beat with his feet. He remembers dancing
to those very same songs in all of his naive,
white adolescence. He looked at the equally

naive, primarily older white audience “get
in the groove,” fifty-five years later than
when he danced at the high school sock hop.

The group sang, “Dancin’ In the Streets,”
and the audience danced in the aisles
completely unaware that the song written

by, for and about blacks came to be a pro-
test song to rally blacks in the 60s to rise
up and dance in the streets for civil rights.

He doesn’t dance anymore but, unfortunately,
it appears that history repeats itself with
unaware whites paying big bucks to dance in

the aisles to old, black rock and roll songs
sung by whites. He wondered if there were
many blacks watching and, if so, what they

might be thinking. There was another shot
of that white audience and he winced as he
saw himself “dancin’ in the aisles.”

His feet stopped keeping beat.

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