With all the awful videos of senseless things happening to young black men resulting in their death lately, I thought of this banjo tune from Hobart Smith of Smyth County.  He likely learned from a black banjo player near his home in Saltville. This stuff as we know has been happening for 400 plus years. When I first encountered this tune in the 1970’s I wondered what the title of this tune Pateroller meant. I was informed it was slang for Patrol Officer. The rapid pace of the tune seems to represent the urgency a person of color would likely have, running knowing that they can’t trust the police not to abuse them.  

I hope some empathy will arise in our communities to force some important policy changes soon. Be sure to cast your vote to bring in some better representatives.

Hobart Smith
Pateroller by Hobart Smith