1. Amadou

In February 1999 Amadou Diallo, an innocent man coming home from work, was killed by 41 bullets in his own vestibule by four New York City undercover policemen. The jury found them not guilty.


It was the very darkest night
On Wheeler Avenue
A solitary man cut down
In his own vestibule
Beside the bloodstained wall
Where the bullets flew
Lay Amadou

Four policemen walked
Past the disbelieving crowds
The rain began to pour so hard
As reporters made their rounds
Outside the courtroom door
Their lawyer took a bow
So proud
He was so proud
Of what the jury said

“It’s time to celebrate”
Said a woman on TV
“They were only doing their jobs
Now it’s time to let ’em be”
So secure upon her porch
In Suffolk County New York
So pleased she was so pleased
By what the jury said

The Mayor of New York
Decried all of the unrest
“There’s no more need to talk no
Our system is the best”
Quoting Thomas Jefferson
On our great Democracy
“And don’t you forget
Don’t you forget
Don’t you forget
What the jury said”

’Twas the very saddest day
On Wheeler Avenue
Candles flickered in the vestibule
Beside the bloodstained wall
Where the bullets flew
Where he died before they lied
His mother cried
His mother cried “Amadou”

words & music
©2018 by Sharleen Leahey
August Echo Music (bmi)
All rights reserved
Vocals & Guitar: Sharleen Leahey
Saxophone: Diane Doolittle
Synthesizer, Bass & Lead Guitar: Kilday

In honor of Dr. King's Birthday Celebration at a church on Jerusalem Road . . . Sharleen Leahey sings "The Ballad of Martin Luther King" for a Baptist church congregation in Scotch Plains, New Jersey on January 27, 2011. The audience enthusiastically sings the chorus:



"I've been to the mountaintop . . .

Today I have a dream . . .

Let us never forget the words . . . 

Let us never forget the deeds . . . 

Let us never forget the dream of Martin Luther King"