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Anne Feeney, “Performer, Producer, Hellraiser.”

Anne Feeney (July 1951 – February 2021) was an American folk musician, singer-songwriter, political activist and an attorney. [Her grandfather was William Patrick Feeney of Irish parents that arrived to the United States at the age of fourteen, during the last quarter of the 19th century, and later became State Representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, between the years 1910 -1912.]

Granddaughter Anne enrolled in college at the University of Pittsburgh and joined “Thinking Students for Peace”, latter a group that protested the Vietnam War and apartheid in South Africa.
In 1972 Anne attended the annual Conference on “Women and the Law” and inspired by the group that founded “Women Organized Against Rape” in Philadelphia, she began a campaign for a rape crisis centre in Pittsburgh and successfully co-founded Pittsburgh’s first rape crisis centre.

It was in that same year, while an undergraduate, she was arrested in Miami at the Republican National Convention, where she was protesting Richard Nixon’s re-nomination for President of the United States.
Anne graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, going on to earn a Juris Doctor (JD) degree in 1978, seeking to effect social change through the legal system.
She worked as a lawyer for 12 years but ultimately decided to engage her pursuance of activism, through her music, blending Irish music with American folk and bluegrass, as well as her political message, through her regular attendance at protest rallies.

Carrying a business card that read “Performer, Producer, Hellraiser”, regrettably Anne passed away at a hospital in Pittsburgh, on February 3rd 2021, at the age of 69; a victim of Covid-19.

The song hereunder evokes history and celebrates events people can be proud of in the context of the elimination of child labour, slavery and the extending of the vote to women, noting that these changes could not have occurred without changes within the law and the acts of people who were willing to take a stand that involved going to jail for their ideals of natural justice.

Have You Been to Jail for Justice?

Lyrics: Anne Feeney
Vocals: Peter, Paul & Mary.

Was it Cesar Chavez? or Rosa Parks that day.
Some say Dr King or Gandhi that set them on their way.
No matter who your mentors are it’s been plain to see,
That, if you’ve been to jail for justice, you’re in good company.

Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand,
Cause sitting in and lyin’ down are ways to take a stand.
Have you sung a song for freedom? or marched that picket line?
Have you been to jail for justice? Then you’re a friend of mine.

Hey, you law abiding citizens, come listen to this song.
Laws were made by people, and people can be wrong,
Once unions were against the law, but slavery was fine.
Women were denied the vote, while children worked the mine.
Yea, the more you study history the less you can deny it,
A rotten law stays on the books til folks like us defy it.

Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand,
Cause sitting in and lyin’ down are ways to take a stand.
Have you sung a song for freedom? or marched that picket line?
Have you been to jail for justice? Then you’re a friend of mine.

Well the law’s supposed to serve us, and so are the police,
But when the system fails us, it’s up to us to speak our piece.
We must be ever vigilance, for justice to prevail,
So get courage from your convictions, let them haul you off to jail!

Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand,
Cause sitting in and lyin’ down are ways to take a stand.
Have you sung a song for freedom? or marched that picket line?
Have you been to jail for justice? Then you’re a friend of mine.

Have you been to jail for justice? Have you been to jail for justice?
Have you been to jail for justice? Then you’re a friend of mine.


END.

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