Songs about slavery and freedom

Songs of Slave Resistance

songs about slavery and freedom

Songs of the Underground Railroad were spiritual and work songs used during the early-to-mid As it was illegal in most slave states to teach slaves to read or write, songs were used to communicate leading them to the northern states, Canada, and freedom: The song ostensibly encodes escape instructions and a map.

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In song, lyrics about the Exodus were a metaphor for freedom from slavery. Songs like "Steal Away to Jesus ", or "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" raised unexpectedly in a dusty field, or sung softly in the dark of night, signaled that the coast was clear and the time to escape had come. The River Jordan became the Ohio River, or the Mississippi, or another body of water that had to be crossed on the journey to freedom. Leaving dry land and taking to the water was a common strategy to throw pursuing bloodhounds off one's trail. The title itself was an Africanized reference to the Big Dipper, which pointed the way to the North Star and freedom. African American Spirituals.

Songs were used in everyday life by African slaves. Singing was tradition brought from Africa by the first slaves; sometimes their songs are called spirituals. Singing served many purposes such as providing repetitive rhythm for repetitive manual work, inspiration and motivation. Singing was also use to express their values and solidarity with each other and during celebrations. Songs were used as tools to remember and communicate since the majority of slaves could not read.

Kenyatta D. Berry is genealogist and lawyer with more than 15 years of experience in genealogical research and writing. She began her genealogical journey while in law school and studying at the State Library of Michigan in Lansing. Cooley Law School. In this blog post, Berry examines how song was used by slaves to both communicate and express feeling in the moment, as well as and pass history down through generations.



Songs of Freedom

Songs of the Underground Railroad were spiritual and work songs used during the early-to-mid 19th century in the United States to encourage and convey coded information to escaping slaves as they moved along the various Underground Railroad routes. As it was illegal in most slave states to teach slaves to read or write, songs were used to communicate messages and directions about when, where, and how to escape, and warned of dangers and obstacles along the route. The pointer stars of the Big Dipper align with the North Star.

“Won't you help to sing/These songs of freedom,” he sings on this heartbreaking slavery song. More recently, Kanye West explored the ways that slavery still.
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Daniel L. says:

    Songs of Freedom

  2. Gabriele F. says:

    The Best Songs About Slaves & Slavery

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