Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Among them

Among them is the fourth scene of We Can Dance, We Can Swing. Thus far millgirls have had a night out in town, celebrating their independence and gossiping merrily. From the crowds one millgirl stepped forward to remind the others of the other side of their lives, the difficulties in feeding their families and unhealthy conditions in the mills. In the third scene this millgirl, supported by a crowd of millgirls, spoke up to the mill manager, asking him for higher wages. Scene four provides an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of Mary Brooksbank, one of the millgirls who was confident enough to speak up to the mill management about wages and other working conditions. To reflect the reflective rather than involved mood of this scene, it is narrated rather than sung.

Low pay, 
Not organised,
No voice.


Among them Mary Brooksbank,
Fearless woman 
Whose voice could not be silenced.

Campaigning relentlessly for higher pay,
One with the thousands of millgirls.

Copyright text, image and words Petra Vergunst

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