Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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NEGRO FOLK RHYMES
Rhymes we find them clustering around the animals of aboriginal African Folk worship. The Negro stories recorded by Mr. Harris center around these animals also. In the Folk Rhyme "Walk Tom Wil­son" our hero steps on an alligator. In "The Ark" the lion almost breaks out of his enclosure of palings. In one rhyme the snake is described as descended from the Devil and then the Devil figures promi­nently in many Rhymes. Then we have "Green Oak Tree Rocky-o" answering to the tree worship.
I have placed in our collection of Rhymes a small foreign section including African Rhymes. I have recorded precious few but those few are enough to show two things. (I) That the Negro of savage Africa has the rhyme-making habit and probably has always had it, and thus the American Negro brought this habit with him to America. (2) That a small handful from darkest Africa contains stanzas on the owl, the frog, and the turkey buzzard just like the American rhymes.
Knowing that the Negro made rhymes in Africa, and knowing that he centered his Jubilee Song words around his American Christian religion, is it not reasonable to suppose that he centered his sec­ular or African Rhymes around his African re­ligion? He must have done so unless he changed
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