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NEGRO FOLK RHYMES
slave preachers could not, as a class, read and they were taught their Bible texts by white men, commonly their owners. The texts taught them embraced most of the central truths of our Bible. The subjects upon which the ante-bellum Negro preached, however, were comparatively few. Of course a very few ante-bellum Negro preachers could read. In case of these individuals their texts and subjects were scarcely limited by the "lids" of the Bible. I heard scores of these men preach in my childhood days.
The following subjects embrace about all those known to the average of these slave preachers. I. Joshua. 2. Samson. 3. The Ark. 4. Jacob. 5. Pharaoh and Moses. 6. Daniel. 7. Ezekiel—vision of the valley of dry bones. 8. Judgment Day. 9. Paul and Silas in jail. 10. Peter. 11. John's vision on the Isle of Patmos. 12. Jesus Christ—his love and his miracles. 13. "Servants, obey your Masters."
Now it is strange enough that the ignorant slave, while adopting his Master's religious topics, refused to adopt his hymns and proceeded to make his own songs and to cluster all these songs in thought around the Bible subjects with which he was acquainted. If the reader will get nearly any copy of Jubilee Songs he will find that the larger number group themselves