My brethren,
among the legends of my people
it is told how a chief,
leading the remnant of his people,
crossed a great river,
and striking his tipi-stake upon the ground,
exclaimed, ‘A-la-ba-ma!’
This in our language means
‘Here we may rest!’
But he saw not the future.
The white man came:
he and his people could not rest there;
they were driven out,
and in a dark swamp
they were thrust down into the slime
and killed.
The word he so sadly spoke
has given a name to one of the white man’s states.
There is no spot under those stars
that now smile upon us,
where the Indian can plant his foot
and sigh ‘A-la-ba-ma.’



About The Henry Brothers

We are English teachers involved in ELT publishing in Turkey, and also touring the country giving workshops and presentations to English teachers, mainly on the use of poetry, storytelling and other lively activities in the classroom. We can be contacted by e-mail to or
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6 Responses to Alabama

  1. Mr. G. says:

    ‘Here we may rest!’
    Apparently turned out to be a bitter irony in time. Very sad indeed.

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