Mastheadheroes

A Better World

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout & Dave Kinnoin)

It doesn’t have to be a page in history.

It doesn’t have to bring you fame in any way.

A simple act will do -

A special gift from you -

That shines a little light on someone’s day and makes...

 

REFRAIN:  A better world for you,

                      A better world for me.

                      The journey starts within our hearts.

                      Each of us can make a better world.

 

A solitary spark can chase away the dark.

A single drop of rain helps the river run.

It doesn’t take that much -

A smile, a word, a touch -

And suddenly a miracle’s begun, and it’s...

 

REFRAIN

 

BRIDGE:  Keep believing if you dare.

                    You might find a hero there to make...

 

REFRAIN

 

Each of us can make a better

Place to build our dreams together.

Each of us can make a better world.

 

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP) & Song Wizard Music (ASCAP)


Agitate

(About Frederick Douglass)

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout, Dave Kinnoin & Peter S. Bliss)

Frederick Douglass (1818-95) escaped the master’s whip at the age of 20 when he fled North, disguised as a sailor.  As a strong voice for civil rights, his lecturing and reasoning were so impressive that opponents refused to believe he had been a slave.  A beacon of morality whose vision transcended race and gender, he wrote books and published a newspaper discussing both the evils of slavery and the rights of women.

 

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress.  Those who favor freedom without agitation want crops without plowing

... they want rain without thunder and lightning.”  - Frederick Douglass

 

I once was a slave with a longing for truth,

Though books were forbidden to me.

At risk to my life, I learned how to read.

Thus, would I one day be free.

 

REFRAIN:  I learned to agitate, stir it up, turn it all around.

                      Agitate, shake it loose, get it off the ground.

                      Agitate, shout it out!  Let them hear the sound.  Agitate!

 

I stand here before you as proof of the fact

The pain of injustice remains.

My brethren in bonds with scars on their backs,

Are begging for mercy in chains.

 

REFRAIN

 

There is no progress, if there is no fight.

There is no freedom if we do not unite.

Nothing matters more, you see,

Than claiming our equality.  Agitate!

 

REFRAIN

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP), Song Wizard Music (ASCAP) & CurlyJams (BMI)


Aren't I a Woman(About Sojourner Truth)

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout)

 Sojourner Truth (1797?-1883) suffered through slavery until the age of 30.  A spellbinding preacher with a beautiful, powerful singing voice, she became the first black woman to travel across America denouncing slavery.   She was a simple, honest and deeply religious activist who stood for freedom and women’s rights.  Her poise, self-confidence and fiery passion made her into an early national symbol for strong black women.

 “I have as much muscle as any man and I can do as much work as any man... And aren’t I a woman?”  - Sojourner Truth

 

Born into slavery in NY State.

Her parents couldn’t save her from cruelty and hate.

She prayed for mercy, and eventually

They passed a law and set her free.

 

Fiery abolitionist as hot as burning coals,

Worked in the city saving sinners’ souls.

Helping the homeless women, taught them how to pray,

Giving them the strength to say --

 

REFRAIN: Aren’t I a woman!

                     I’ve worked as hard as any man.

                     Aren’t I a woman!

                     I can do anything you can.

                     Aren’t I a woman!

                     The truth is, I know a thing or two.

                     Aren’t I a woman!

                     I deserve my rights the same as you.

 

She traveled through the country sounding out the call.

There was passion in her presence and power in it all.

Singing out for freedom in her animated way,

Not afraid to stand and say --

 

REFRAIN

 

When slaves and women had no choice

‘Cause white men owned the voting booth.

This tall strong preacher raised her voice

To tell the world Sojourner’s Truth.

 

REFRAIN

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP)


Break the Barrier

(About Jackie Robinson)

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout & Dave Kinnoin)

 Jackie Robinson (1919-72) broke the color barrier in 1947 when he became the first black major league baseball player.  In spite of racial hostility and even death threats from players and fans, he played the game of baseball with quiet dignity and extraordinary talent.  He was a daring base runner, an excellent fielder and held a career batting average of .311.  He was an active spokesperson for civil rights, and in 1962 he became the first African-American elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

 “There is not an American in this country that is free until every one of us is free.” - Jackie Robinson

 

I’ve got my bat.  I’ve got my mitt.

I’ve got the skill.  I’m physically fit.

So what’s stopping me from walking on in?

There’s something here I cannot see --

A silent code about people like me.

I’m not welcome ‘cause of the color of my skin.

It shouldn’t have to be this way.

All I want is a chance to play.

 

REFRAIN: We gotta break the barrier

                     Come on everybody, one and all,

                     We gotta break that wall.

 

There is a fire in my soul.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep control.

I have a plan that’s gonna work out.

With every hit and stolen base,

With every catch, I’ll make my case.

Before I’m done, the fans will shout.

In this democracy, nobody’s free till we all are free.

 

REFRAIN

 

Jackie, you know how to play the game.

Baseball is never gonna be the same!

 

REFRAIN

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP) & Song Wizard Music (ASCAP)


Carry On

(About Susan B. Anthony)

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout)

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was one of the founders of American feminism.  For more than half a century, she endured threats and ridicule for her tireless quest to reform the unfair laws that governed women.  Crisscrossing the country at a breathtaking pace well into her eighties, she gave speeches and supported rallies for women’s rights.  She was arrested in 1872 for daring to vote -- an illegal act for a woman.  A month before her death, she finished her last public appearance declaring “failure is impossible.” Fourteen years later, women were given the right to vote.

 “Men: their rights and nothing more; women: their rights and nothing less.” - Susan B. Anthony

 

Alone on a platform, she stops mid-sentence.

In a room full of angry shouts, she clears her throat.

She patiently waits for the return of order.

And then repeats:  “We are equal.  Women deserve to vote.”

 

A young energetic leader, she travels from town to town

Raising women’s issues with a voice that must be heard.

Those accusations and insults hurt, but they don’t keep her down,

‘Cause she believes in the power and the truth of her spoken word.

 

REFRAIN:  Carry on!  Can you hear the call?

                      Carry on!  Failure is impossible.

 

She drops a vote in a ballot box on Election Day,

Claiming she has the constitutional right.

But the judge tells the jury to see it another way.

And Susan B. Anthony loses another fight.

 

REFRAIN

 

She lived her life determined that women must unite.

She would not stop believing that equality is everybody’s right.

 

REFRAIN

 

Her 86th birthday -- she’s calm and self-possessed --

Before a room packed with people making lots of noise again.

It’s a standing ovation for a hero -- the honored guest --

Who lived her life demonstrating women are equal to men.

 

REFRAIN

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP)


Eleanor

(About Eleanor Roosevelt)

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout)

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), shy and insecure as a child, emerged as a public figure when her husband Franklin was elected president of the United States in 1932.  She brought her great compassion and concern to the world’s neediest people.  As US representative to the United Nations, she helped create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and became a champion of equal rights for minorities.  The most active and influential -- and sometimes controversial -- of all US presidents’ wives, she became so respected and admired, she was often called “First Lady of the World.”

 “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  - Eleanor Roosevelt

 

A child of misfortune,

Had her share of tears.

And losing both her parents

Taught her how to face her fears.

So when this shy and simple lady

Became the President’s wife,

She found that helping other people

Brought purpose to her life.

 

Casual and friendly

With a heart of gold,

She brought her warm compassion

To the lonely and the cold.

Champion of the needy.

Strength in every word,

She became the voice of others

Who were begging to be heard.

 

REFRAIN: And Eleanor always took a stand

                     For the hungry and the homeless all across the land.

                     Oh Eleanor, it was not the life you planned,

                     But you knew it made you happy to lend a helping hand.

 

A most admired woman,

She was “Eleanor Everywhere.”

She considered it her mission

To show goodwill and care.

She went all around the world

Not afraid to fight

For the cause of every human,

For the chance to make things right.

 

REFRAIN

 

Though she had her share of broken dreams,

Mrs. Roosevelt would live

Defending simple human rights

With a heart that had to give.

 

REFRAIN

 

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP)


 First Man on the Moon

(About Neil Armstrong)

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout & Dave Kinnoin) 

Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), commander of the Apollo 11 lunar mission in 1969, was the first person to walk on the moon.  Learning how to pilot an airplane before he could drive a car, his passion for flight led him to push the frontiers of air and space exploration.  His quiet confidence, burning ambition and willingness to work tirelessly without complaint enabled him to become an outstanding pilot and astronaut.  A deeply modest and private man, he left the limelight to become a professor of engineering, considering his extraordinary achievements to be nothing more than doing his job.

 “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” - Neil Armstrong

 

Even as a little baby, he’d gaze up at the sky

And wave his tiny arms as if he wanted to fly.

People used to wonder, “What does Baby see?”

But who on earth could know little Neil would someday be...

 

REFRAIN: First man, first man on the moon.

                     First man, first man on the moon.

 

He received his pilot’s license the day he turned 16.

With cotton candy clouds below his flying machine,

There, shining on Ohio, hanging high above --

That rock with all those craters he was always dreaming of.

 

REFRAIN

 

BRIDGE:  He was a brave Navy pilot when he was only twenty.

                    Studied flight engineering, and he learned plenty.

                    Took a job at NASA

                    Flying every kind of plane under the stars.

                    Pushing throttles to the limit, he did all that he’d been taught,

                    He did the work to become an astronaut.

                    Commanded Gemini 8 above the atmosphere

                    All for Apollo.

 

It was 1969.  A quarter million miles away

An earthling on a ladder chose the words he would say.

Life on our blue marble would never be the same.

We all grew a little closer the moment he became...

 

REFRAIN

 

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP) & Song Wizard Music (ASCAP)


Johnny Appleseed

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout & Dave Kinnoin)

 Johnny Appleseed (1774-1845), whose real name was John Chapman, planted apple orchards throughout Ohio and Indiana with seeds he carried from the cider mills of Pennsylvania.  He often gave his seedlings to settlers and is credited with many extraordinary acts of kindness to people and animals.  The Indians let him wander without harm wherever he wished, believing him dear to The Great Spirit.  Without a gun and with scarcely any possessions, he lived a simple life in harmony with nature.

 A stone was erected at his probable gravesite in 1916:  “He lived for others.”

 

REFRAIN:  Look who’s coming!  It’s Johnny Appleseed!

                      With a sack on his back, he’s a friend to all, indeed.

                      Everyone knows a smile is guaranteed.

                      He’s Johnny Appleseed.

 

From Massachusetts, he’s heading west

Through Pennsylvania to the edge of the frontier.

All those who meet him say he’s the best

At growing apple trees

And making friends with ease.

 

REFRAIN

 

A gentle spirit, so kind and fair,

He follows nature’s way and lives an honest life.

We see his apples grow everywhere.

And they remind us of the man who planted love.

 

REFRAIN

 

Some folks say that he is nutty.

I hear tell he would not hurt a fly.

He’ll lend a hand to anybody.

And when he greets you, he says, “Hi!  How you doing?”

 

REFRAIN

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP) & Song Wizard Music (ASCAP)


Keep Your Face to the Sunshine

(About Helen Keller)

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout & Dave Kinnoin)

Helen Keller (1880-1968) was left blind and deaf by a severe illness at the age of 19 months.  Using her exceptional mind and strong will, she learned to communicate with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan.  She learned how to read Braille and to “listen” by feeling a speaker’s face. In 1904, Miss Keller graduated with honors from Radcliffe College.  She authored a number of books about her experiences while lecturing and fund raising on behalf of handicapped people.  She proved to the world that disability does not mean inability.

 “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.” - Helen Keller

 

When there is darkness

And the music’s gone,

It’s hard to know which way to go

And how to carry on.

Try to remember each day is new.

Keep searching for an open door,

And you can make it through.

 

REFRAIN:  Keep your face to the sunshine.

                      You won’t see the shadows fall.

                      Trust your spirit when you hear it call.

                      You can do it all.

 

The world is not always

As it may appear,

For things we feel are far more real

Than what we see and hear.

Your dreams can shine like the brightest star

As long as you remember to

Believe in who you are.

 

REFRAIN

 

Great things are possible for everyone.

Don’t let your circumstances

Determine how you live each day,

No matter what the world might say.

 

REFRAIN

 

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP) & Song Wizard Music (ASCAP)


 Tecumseh

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout & Dave Kinnoin)

Tecumseh (1768-1813) spent much of his life attempting to unite Native Americans against United States expansion into the Mississippi River valley.  Five times as a child he was forced to run from attacking settlers who burned his village, yet he grew into a generous, compassionate Shawnee leader.  Admired by friends and enemies alike, he stood for simplicity, healthy living, honesty, reverence and brotherhood.  He traveled thousands of miles making passionate speeches before dozens of tribes, pleading for unity.  His dream of an independent Indian nation died with him in battle, but his lessons live on.

 “Brothers, we all belong to one family; we are all children of the Great Spirit!” - Tecumseh

 

Along the great Ohio,

Where Shawnee people roam,

We hunt for what we need here

And call this place our home.

Now, there is the white man,

And we don’t understand

Why treaties that he makes

Are promises he breaks

To rob us of our land.

 

REFRAIN:  We need Tecumseh, brave warrior, Indian chief.

                      Tecumseh!  Tecumseh!  Come to our relief.

                      We must throw away our differences

                      And stand for what is right.

                      Tecumseh, help us to unite.

 

He stands before the Council --

A fire burning bright.

His wisdom lights the evening

Like embers in their flight.

He says, “We must come together!”

With passion in his voice.

“Unite at any cost,

Or everything is lost

We have no other choice!”

 

REFRAIN

 

All the Indian Nations

Can’t agree on what to do.

Will we have reservations

If we don’t listen ...

If we don’t listen to --

 

REFRAIN

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP) & Song Wizard Music (ASCAP)


 When They Flew

(About The Wright Brothers)

(Words & music by Jonathan Sprout & Dave Kinnoin)

Orville and Wilbur Wright (1871-1948)(1867-1912) achieved one of humanity’s wildest dreams when they flew the first self-powered airplane.  For years these self-taught engineers, who designed and made bicycles for a living, experienced failure after failure in the tedious testing of kites and gliders, but they continued to believe in the impossible -- that humans could fly.  With courage, perseverance, teamwork and faith in the scientific method, they eventually achieved the dream of flight on the windy sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.

When my brother and I began experimenting (with flight) in 1900 it was purely for the pleasure of it. 

We did not expect to get back a cent of the money we spent.” - Wilbur Wright

 

On the windswept outer banks of Carolina

Where the sand dunes seem to stretch to the sky,

There were two men at the turn of the Century

Determined to learn how to fly.

On a cold gusty day in December,

They let their invention roll free.

There was no turning back

When that plane left the track

And sailed into history.

 

REFRAIN:  When they flew,

                      They had the future in their eyes.

                      When they flew,

                      They were captains of the skies.

                      When their dream came true,

                      The whole world knew

                      Of Wilbur and Orville, when they flew.

 

It isn’t easy to imagine how they did it

With failures every step of the way.

But their faith wouldn’t let them ever quit it,

No matter what others might say.

In the end, it was hard work and persistence

That began with a dream and a kite.

All the years of devotion they set into motion

That made them the first in flight.

 

REFRAIN

 

BRIDGE:  And after all these years,

                    Time and again,

                    I hear a plane go by and remember...

 

REFRAIN

© 2000 Kanukatunes (ASCAP) & Song Wizard Music (ASCAP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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