Edited by Azizi Powell
This post documents a few examples of chants and signage that were used in Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore, Maryland and in other United States cities. Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American resident of the city, died in police custody a week after being arrested and transported to the police station.
This post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series on protest chants. Other posts in this series can be found by clicking the "protest chant" tag at the bottom of this post.
The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, and cultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all of those who participate in non-violent protests for equality and justice for all. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the videographers & publishers of these videos on YouTube.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/30/freddie-gray-death-questions_n_7182428.html "Someone Isn't Telling The Truth About Freddie Gray's Death",
04/30/2015 11:59 pm EDT
"By now, everybody knows the injuries that contributed to Freddie Gray's death. Baltimore authorities and representatives for Gray’s family agree that the 25-year-old sustained fatal trauma to his neck and spine at some point while in police custody following his arrest on April 12. Although a full autopsy hasn't yet been released, the family has said that Gray’s spine was nearly severed, and that his doctors had attempted to repair three fractured neck vertebrae and a crushed voice box. Last week, The Baltimore Sun spoke to medical experts who said that Gray's injuries were, in the paper's words, comparable to those seen in “victims of high-speed crashes...
Over the past few weeks, Baltimore police have provided few answers about how Gray went from seemingly healthy enough to flee police on the morning of April 12 to dead on April 19 after a week in a coma...”
From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/01/criminal-charges-freddie-gray_n_7188946.html "Baltimore State's Attorney: 'We Have Probable Cause To File Criminal Charges' Over Freddie Gray's Death", 05/01/2015 10:52 am EDT Paige Lavender
"Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby gave an update on the investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody in April, calling his death a homicide.
"We have probable cause to file criminal charges," Mosby said in a press conference Friday.
Charges including second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault, among others, will be filed against the officers involved in Gray's arrest, Mosby said...
Mosby noted that "no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray." Police had said Gray was arrested for possessing a switchblade, but Mosby said Friday the knife in Gray's possession was not a switchblade and was lawful, and said officers "illegally arrested" Gray.
"We are very much committed to pursuing justice," Mosby said."
These excerpted articles are presented in chronological order with article with the oldest date given first. The sentences with chants in these articles are given in italics to highlight them.
'All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray'
By Askia Muhammad, Nisa Islam Muhammad, Charles Robinson and Shawn Massie | Last updated: Apr 28, 2015 - 8:07:18 AM
“Questions about police violence fuel outrage over death of young Black male, the crisis is far from over and not limited to the city of Baltimore, say activists and demonstrators in the streets…
It’s not what the city leaders said was wanted but those who came to foment confrontation found it April 25 outside a baseball game. For most of the day, thousands [in Baltimore] walked from the scene of the Gray death to City Hall. Organizers emphasized they wanted to shut down the city. They clogged main arteries as some chanted, “No justice, no peace.” “All night, all day we will fight for Freddie Gray,” chanted others.
'Marchers take to the streets across the U.S.: “All night, all day, we’re gonna fight for Freddie Gray”' Posted 10:46 pm, April 29, 2015, by CNN Wire Service
..."[In New York City] “The rally was organized through social media, much like protests over the killing of Eric Garner, who died while police held him in what appeared to be a chokehold. The demonstrators chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for Freddie Gray” — the Baltimore man whose death sparked street confrontations in Baltimore.
In Washington[ DC], about 500 protesters, mostly in their 20s, gathered in the middle of H Street and 7th and chanted, “All night, all day, we’re gonna fight for Freddie Gray.”
The mood seemed more festive than confrontational, with songs by Public Enemy like “Fight the Power” playing and sign-language interpreters translating the music and chants.
The protest moved to the White House where most of the crowd dispersed. It started after most office workers had headed home and didn’t disrupt the Washington workforce badly."
These videos are presented in chronological order by their publishing date on YouTube with the oldest video given first. The response in call & response chants are given in brackets. Additions and corrections are welcome.
WARNING: Many of the comments in video discussion threads about these protests are antagonistic to the protests, including the use of the n word and other racist content, and including profanity.
Example #1: Baltimore protests death of Freddie Gray - RT Special Coverage
RT America, Published on Apr 22, 2015
Ben Swann reports from the scene of the Baltimore protests following Freddie Gray’s mysterious death in police custody. Swann interviews the Gray family lawyer and a local minister in an attempt to unravel the events going on in the city. Anya Parampil reports live from the protests and captures the mood of the demonstrators. Finally, Manuel Rapalo delivers the latest information on the timeline leading up to and after Gray’s death.
Two examples of chants heard in this video:
We will fight for Freddie Gray
Note that during an interview, a protestor said "Is it justice or just us" (meaning preferntial treatment under the law for some people instead of equality under the law).
Example #2: Baltimore residents take to the streets to protest death of Freddie Gray
Reuters Published on Apr 23, 2015
Protesters cry "All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray!" -- a 27-year-old black man who was arrested by Baltimore police and later died in custody. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Examples of chants in this video clip are:
All night, all day
We will fight for Freddie Gray”
[call and response chant]
Example #3: Baltimore Protesters Marching for Freddie Gray
pArtyiNfo4aLL Published on Apr 29, 2015
I jogged to the front and caught most of the crowd coming by. We were made to move away from the courthouse and they were en route back to Penn Station.
Notice that this is a very multi-racial protest consisting of mostly college age marchers. Chants were spoken to the beat of a drum. Many of the chanters raised a clenched fist as a sign of resolve and held mostly handmade signs. Examples of signs were “I Can’t Breathe”, "Black Lives Matter “Police Are The Outside Agitators”, and “I mourn broken necks, not windows”
A chant example:
caller: All night
group: All day
All: We will fight for Freddie Gray
The April 29, 2015 rally/march in New York City in support of Freddie Gray included this unison chant directed towards the police "Who do you serve? Who do you protect?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4OsmSqcPhM.
UPDATE May 1, 2015
May 1, 2015 Maryland State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced indictments for the six police officers involved in the Freddie Gray case.
During a MSNBC television report on May 1, 2015 (at 8:20 pm), marchers chanted "convict all six" (referring to the indicted six police officers). The marchers also chanted "All night, all day/we will fight for Freddie Gray" and "Freddie", "Freddie", "Freddie" in unison.
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