Two Hundred Years Ago

In "Two Hundred Years Ago," Carrie Collins sets her own poetry to music. She self-published the song in 1975. In 1976, The Field Elementary choir performed the song at Colorado’s state capitol in 1976 in celebration of America’s bicentennial, and the poem itself was recited aloud on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995.

Date: 1975Composer: Carrie Beatrice Holloway CollinsText: Carrie Beatrice Holloway Collins

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Two hundred years ago
America started to grow
Her work was tedious and slow
And England had to go.

Two hundred years ago
They thought they had to fight
For freedom and for right
The Red Coats with their might.

Two hundred years ago
We found the Indians here
They farmed and fished and sought
To hold their land they fought.

Two hundred years ago
The Brown folks lived here too
Their horses they did ride
And brand their cattles’ [sic] hides.

Two hundred years ago
Black folks were shackled and chained
Free labor did they give
Some died that others might live.

Two hundred years ago
They came from far and near
Some came because of fears
And others shedding tears.

Two hundred years ago
The people travelled slow
No buses, planes or trains
To cross mountains and plains.

Two hundred years ago
America wanted more
She looked from coast to coast
For help and not a toast.

Two hundred years ago
Some people had a dream
That one day it would seem
Like they could live as Kings.

Two hundred years ago
Men worked hard with the land
And some of them couldn’t stand
Hardships of their fellow-man.

Two hundred years ago
They came with all they had
High hopes, courage and faith
To live and grow in grace.

Two hundred years ago
America, stand up and cheer
For men have worked sincere
Thank God, move on without fear.

Two hundred years ago
America, stand up and cheer
Brave men have bled and died
For Freedom side by side.


Source: Carrie B. H. Collins collection, American Music Research Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.

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