Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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The Tour of the Original Jubilee Singers.
"For Orpheus1 lute was strung toith poets sinews, Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones; Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands"
T HESE songs were never intended for the world at large. On the contrary, they were lines of communication between the slaves and God, and between the slave and slave. The slave never dreamed that the world cared for his song, nor did he dream that his song had a message for the world. So he sang in the field, in the cabin, and in the meeting house, to lighten his burden, to comfort his brother, and to entreat his God. All these were the personal concern of the slave, and not in the least the concern of the world. The world was big, cold, and awful, and not only cared not for his song, but had not one spark of real human interest in him, the maker and singer of his song. No! not the world! But the secret place, the lonesome valley, the purple dawn, solitudes all wet with dews, and God away off in the listening Heavens, they would hear his songs. They did hear. But lo! this humble singer knew not how near to pure glory he was, nor did he know into what effective means of salvation he had been fashioned. This strange new song fairly burst upon the world; burst from unwilling hearts upon unwilling hearts.
A man of faith and vision came from New York State to work among the freedmen, in a school founded in the city of Nashville by the American Missionary Association. This school had been given the name of Fisk. It was to offer the opportunity for higher educa�tion to those who for two and a half hundred years had been slaves, and whose ancestors for untold centuries had lived in the wilds of Africa. After the first bloom of success had faded from this novel "experiment," and men began to proclaim, "It is not worth while," then strong men began to grow faint and their faith weakened, their hopes faded and the Fisk School was given tip to die. "Man's ex-

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III