“Abraham, Holler has many historical references to

“Abraham, Martin, and John”

Composed by: Dick Holler

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Released: 1968

The
song “Abraham, Martin, and John” composed by Dick Holler has many
historical references to important civil rights figures starting with Abraham Lincoln.
 Martin
Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy were all important to our
civil rights history, and devastatingly when Dick Holler composed this song and
included them they had also been recently assassinated.  This song references these important people
and expresses how much we miss and still need them.

Despite
Abraham Lincoln being assassinated about a hundred years before this song was released
Holler asks, “Anybody here seen my old friend Abraham? Can you tell me where
he’s gone?” You can tell that he’s in denial and can’t accept that Abraham is
gone. Other people mentioned in this song were alive when the singer was but
Abraham wasn’t. He still refers to him as an “old friend” though because his
values are similar to these latter people. He continues by singing, “He freed a
lot of people but it seems the good they die young.” This is referring to one
of Abraham Lincoln’s contributions and that was the Emancipation Proclamation
that abolished slavery and “freed a lot of people.” In the next verse he sings,
“Anybody here seen my old friend John? Can you tell me where he’s gone?” John
is John Kennedy who was the President of the United States. Both Abraham
Lincoln and John Kennedy were hero’s for America and Kennedy was assassinated about
five years before this song was released. His death was also devastating as was
Lincolns. By continuing Abraham Lincolns civil rights work he increased African
Americans rights in the United States and condemned racial injustice in a way
he to “freed a lot of people.”

Holler references
another civil rights figure in these lines, “Anybody here seen my old friend
Martin? Can you tell me where he’s gone?” Martin is Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. and he was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Martin was very
popular and had prominence among many people so he rightly refers to him as an “old
friend.” Just a few months before this song was released Martin had been assassinated
like Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. When he says, “He freed a lot of people
but it seems the good they die young” this points toward Martins civil rights achievements
and emphasizes that he died too young. Just a couple months after Martin King
was assassinated Senator Robert Kennedy was as well. So Holler begs the
questions, “Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby? Can you tell me where he’s
gone? Bobby was Robert Kennedys nick name. He then sings, “I thought I saw him
walkin’ up over the hill With Abraham, Martin, and John” All these men walking together
is symbolic to the steps that they made with civil rights when they were alive.
He says he sees them walking up “over on a hill” this could be a reference to
the “City on a Hill “speech. That speech emphasizes the idea that American is a
model for the world to follow and that’s what all four of these people
mentioned wanted.

These
men stood for change and freedom and rights for everyone so Holler asks, “Didn’t you love the things that they stood
for? Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?” These men commented on
in this song dedicated their lives to serving others and that’s why America
loved the “things they stood for!” All of them had a great vison for America
and they died trying to achieve it. When he says they worked for “you and me”
it shows the support that these leaders had gained and the benefits to society
they provided us. The singer then positively says, “And we’ll be free Some day
soon, it’s gonna be one day” he’s making the point that even though these men
were assassinated we can still be free one day. This type of conviction was in
Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. Every line
of this song is a reference to these men who fought for the rights of people.