Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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will but read "Master Is Six Feet One Way," found in our collection, he will find in it a description of a slave owner attired in Colonial garb. It clearly be­longs, as to date of composition, either to Colonial days, or to the very earliest years of the American Republic. When we consider it as a slave rhyme, it is far from crudest, notwithstanding the early period of its production.
If one carefully studies our collection of rhymes, he will probably get a new and interesting picture of the Negro's mental attitude and reactions during the days of his enslavement. One of these mental reac­tions is calculated to give one a surprise. One would naturally expect the Negro under hard, trying, bitter slave conditions, to long to be white. There is a re­markable Negro Folk rhyme which shows that this was not the case. This rhyme is: "I'd Rather Be a Negro Than a Poor White Man." We must bear in mind that a Folk Rhyme from its very nature car­ries in it the crystallized thought of the masses. This rhyme, though a little acidic and though we have recorded the milder version, leaves the unquestioned conclusion that, though the Negro masses may have wished for the exalted station of the rich Southern w7hite man and possibly would have willingly had a white color as a passport to position, there never

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