That Kind of Grace

w&m Anne Hills & David Roth
© 1992 Raven Heart Music / May the Light Music / ASCAP

From Anne’s album Rhubarb Trees

This song was inspired by people who have faced civil rights violations within their communities and families. The forgiveness they displayed goes beyond what would seem humanly possible. Specifically, Mrs. Alpha Robertson whose daughter Carole was killed in the Birmingham Church bombing, Beulah Mae Donald whose son was lynched in 1981 by the Klan*, and Rodney King, whose violent beating by LA police officers, and their subsequent acquittal, provided a painful example of the continuing racial injustice within the U.S. legal system.

Sunday morning, Birmingham, quiet in the church.
Bombs were planted, House of God, children’s blood on the cross.
And your daughter, she was one, angel without wings.
How could anyone forgive those who do such things.

CHORUS
And when I sing “Amazing Grace,”
Your face is what I see.
I hope someday that kind of grace
Will find its way through me.

Friday evening in Mobile, Klansmen killing time
Saw young Michael walking by, he would do just fine.
Quiet student, mother’s best, pleading for his life.
Strung him up to make a point, sharper than a knife.

Buelah Mae, his mother, stood, people all around,
In the courtroom listening as the truth was found.
From her mouth no curses fell, no profanity,
“I would do to others what I’d have them do to me.”

CHORUS
And when I sing “Amazing Grace,”
Her face is what I see.
I hope someday that kind of grace
Will find its way through me.

Thursday afternoon in the car, turned the radio on.
The verdict in Los Angeles, oh, what have we done?
Images of violence ? yellow, black and white.
Fifty dead and millions lost, who can win this fight?

Then on the screen a face of tears, trembling through and through.
One we’ve seen so many times, beaten on the news.
I could barely hear his words, full of fear and doubt,
“People, we can’t live like this, we’ve got to work this out.”

CHORUS
And when I sing “Amazing Grace,”
Your face is what I see.
I hope someday that kind of grace
Will find its way through me.

* Mrs. Donald, with assistance from the Southern Poverty Law Center, brought a successful civil lawsuit against the Klan for their crime, bankrupting the United Klans of America and hindering their further activities.