Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems  

Sick People in Chicago

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1977 Schroder Music Company, renewed 2005. The headline to which this song is related reads “Black girl, 7, dies repeating whites’ taunt.” The girl in question had sickle-cell anemia, a disease in which a crisis can be brought on by stress. She and a group of other black children who had been involved in a voluntary busing plan had been met at the door of a previously all-white school by a jeering crowd. Turned away, she developed symptoms and died hours later at Wyler Children’s Hospital.

In the city of Chicago,
Little black girl wasn't well,
Her body was afflicted
With the sickle cell.
If a person gets excited,
The sickle cell will kill,
And the people in the neighborhood,
They mocked the new little girl.

"Go back where you belong!"
They shouted, "Black girl, die!"
It wasn't the kids in school,
It was the people outside, shameless,
To drive this blameless child to her death,
And as she was dying she was crying
With her last breath,
"Go back where you belong."

Mellaine Turner,
Only seven years old,
Her friends and family loved her
And she was good as gold,
But because she was a black girl,
White folks all around,
They mocked her in her sickness,
"Go back where you belong."


Twas the winter of '77
This child got sick and died,
But the sickest ones of all
Were the hooting gang outside.
The hooting gang, the blind,
Who would not understand
That Chicago is supposed to be
The heart of freedom's land.


Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
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Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
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