ON THE TRAIL OF NEGRO FOLK-SONGS

A Collection Of Negro Traditional & Folk Songs with Sheet Music Lyrics & Commentaries - online book

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282
AFTERWORD
the lure of cheap printed music. I envy the leisured rich who could take such a tour — yet never do. Why does not some millionaire endow a folk-song research? Surely the world would sing his praises!
I wish that more of our colleges and universities would take active interest in folk-song. Harvard has done more than any institution to encourage research, and the preservation of folk-lore among us, and it is impossible to estimate the debt that we owe to Professor Kittredge for the inspiration he has given to students and collectors throughout the country. Years ago Harvard gave John A. Lomax a travelling fellowship for the collection of cowboy songs, and has given Robert Gordon a similar appointment for research next year. Mr. Gordon expects to tour America in a hunt for folk-song of any kind available, and his quest will no doubt result in the gathering of much that will be of permanent value. The Texas Folk-lore Society is a lively and ambitious body, with several admirable volumes to its credit. The Virginia branch has collected many ballads, and the West Virginia organization has recently seen the results of its efforts brought together in John Harrington Cox's book, Folk-Songs of the South. The North Carolina Folk-lore Society has made a very large collection, and Professor Reed Smith is about to bring out a South Carolina collection. In other sections there is interest, but a general stimulus is needed if the material is to be collected in time and preserved.
DuBose Heywood tells of the work that the Charleston group is doing, in teaching the Negro children their racial songs. The white people go to the plantations, where they learn the authentic songs, and then teach them orally to the colored children — not writing them down at all, for they feel that oral transmission is the true method for folk-songs. The Sabbath Glee Club of Richmond, a band of colored singers, is doing an excellent work in preserving the old songs. Women's clubs throughout the South would do well to take up this important work before it is too late.
Some of the Negro colleges, as Fisk, Hampton, Tuskegee, and others, are doing valiant work along this line. Talley, of Fisk, has an extremely interesting book, Negro Folk Rhymes, and there are vari­ous collections of spirituals. But the possibilities are only touched as yet.
Of late there is awakened interest in Negro problems of education and service. Carnegie Hall was packed to the doors one evening not long ago with an audience eager to hear the glee clubs of Hamp­ton and Tuskegee sing the old songs, and to listen to a plea for sup­port to extend the usefulness of these great institutions.







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