Dan Antion of No Facilities is hosting Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week and his prompt words are, “oooh, aaah.” This made me think of the song “Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke. So here goes:
“Ooh, aah, ooh, aah! That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang…”-song lyrics from Chain Gang by Sam Cooke
Really liked many of Sam Cooke‘s songs. He was popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. The story surrounding his death tarnished his reputation. I wanted focus on the title of the song. The song was inspired after a chance meeting with an actual chain-gang of prisoners on a highway, seen while Sam was on tour. Chain Gangs refers to the practice of using prison work gangs that were chained together by their ankles, forced to work for local governments and businesses for long hours under brutal conditions. There have still been some chained prison work gangs used in current times. Maricopa County’s “tent city” prison is slated to close now that there is a new sheriff in town. As you can read in the linked articles, it turns out it is not only men who worked on chain gangs or under terrible conditions as part of prison labor, women prisoners have done it too. Terrible history to be thinking of before our country celebrates our independence day next week.
Featured image of ‘Convicts singing in wood yard, Reed County South Carolina 1934’ by Alan Lomax via Wikimedia.