Did I want to distribute turkeys
To poor Blacks in the projects
Thanksgiving morn
Sure, I said yes

Be at 11th Ward Democratic Headquarters
7 am sharp Thanksgiving Day
Dick Daley’s own
Not Richie
The Real Chicago Machine

There they were with a cooler truck
Full of turkeys
11th ward heelers all
They stole elections
Got dead men to vote
A hard bitten crew if there ever were

I got a list of recipients
One turkey each into my car
Then the Ward Boss said
Let’s feed the animals!
Direct descendants of the 1919 Chicago Race Riots
But now there were votes in Blacks
Left a bitter taste in my mouth

But off I went east, cross the Ryan, and into the Black Belt
Not a smart thing to do for a white kid in the Black projects
But it was Thanksgiving morn
Most of the bad guys had probably just retired
After a hard night of raising hell
So what the hell I gave it a try

First address a project building
Elevator out so I trudged up the stairs
Knocked on the door
An old Black woman peered out
Happy Thanksgiving, M’am, from the 11th Ward Democratic Organization
She gratefully grasped her Thanksgiving meal and said appreciatively
God Bless You Sir!
Tromped down the stairs to the next address

God Bless You Sir!
God Bless You Sir!
God Bless You Sir!
So it went for the rest of Thanksgiving Morn
Until my turkeys were all gone

I got in my car and tooled south on the Ryan
For my nice white upper middle class Thanksgiving dinner
The constant refrain of God Bless You Sir!
Still ringing in my ears
After all these years,
Every Thanksgiving Day
God hears the prayers of the poor.

University of Illinois Law Professor Francis A. Boyle served as Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence; to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993; and to H.E. Chairman and President Yasser Arafat. The story is told in his book Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (Clarity Press: 2003). He can be reached at: FBOYLE@LAW.UIUC.EDU. Read other articles by Francis A..