AUBURN — Genesee Elementary School student Tyrone Pemberton came up with the refrain for a women’s suffrage song while flipping through the pages of a thesaurus.
Pemberton, a sixth-grade student at the Auburn school, was one of the students doing research at the time for a song on women’s suffrage from the perspective of iconic abolitionist and former Auburn resident Harriet Tubman. Pemberton’s lyrics — “Some have the right/ some have to fight/ for suffrage to receive it,” — were sung by him and his fellow students at Auburn Public Theater Thursday. Pemberton’s class and Genesee fifth-grade students recorded songs about Harriet Tubman to be used at Auburn’s upcoming Equal Rights Heritage Center.
Genesee students have been writing and performing different Tubman tunes for years. The city of Auburn sponsored the professional recording at the theater. City Clerk Chuck Mason said a part of an exhibit at the center will be dedicated to historical songs and the ways in which abolition and suffrage were celebrated in song and speeches. The city asked Genesee school librarian Anne Mlod and retired Genesee teacher Cinda Gilmore to help set up the recordings to go with the theme.