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Ballad of Nigger Jim RealAudio Buy
Text by David Weber. Sung by H K Gruber.

Boycott of Jewish stores
SA men campaign through the streets of Berlin, calling for support for a nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses in April 1933.
The Ballad of Nigger Jim (1930)—composed in a European interpretation of Dixieland jazz—is a critique of racial segregation or "Jim Crow" policies in the United States. Just a few years later, after Hitler's rise to power, similar laws would isolate the Jewish community in Germany. The small jazz combo used in this song was popular with avant-garde European composers in the 1920s, particularly in Berlin. The choice of wind instruments, percussion, banjo, plucked strings and piano also was suitable for the limited range of the new sound recording technologies. Here's a translation of the first verse and refrain:

When Nigger Jim left the jungle
and brought a ticket for the streetcar,
between Harlem and Manhattan,
between Harlem and Manhattan,
a gentleman roared:
"Get out, you dirty nigger:
want do you think you're doing here,
sitting with us white-collar workers?"

So they took him by his ear
and threw him off the car
and down the pavement he rolled.
Then the men with the lighter skin
continued discussing how they had built the city
and also the beautiful railway.

That's why there's a compartment
for white gentlemen,
That's why there's a compartment
for black gentlemen
on the streetcar, on the streetcar,
my boy, pay attention.
That's why there's a compartment,
my boy, pay attention!

Music sample © 1998 BMG Classics.

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