Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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98                      FOLK SONO OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO,
Miss Kitty Cheatham, born in the South of parents who owned slaves, has had fine environments and opportunity for the study and understanding of the slave music. It was her family that owned Ella Sheppard. She is one of the few outside of the Negro race who have an adequate understanding and appreciation of this music. She approaches it with the right spirit and proper motive. Her renderings are sympathetic and characteristic. Her religious nature helps her to a serious study of these songs. In addition to this, her life among those who produced them made it most natural for her to get into the spirit of the Negro.
Dr. C. J. Eyder was connected with the campaign of the original band of singers and has had good opportunity to see the effect of these songs upon people's hearts. His long service with the Ameri�can Missionary Association has kept him in close touch with the Negroes and their songs. He has, for a long time, studied the songs and has delivered some interesting lectures upon them. His study has been from the viewpoint of religion.
Dr. W. E. B. DuBois has devoted one chapter in his book, "Souls of Black Folk," to the songs of his fathers. His viewpoint is that of the philosopher who sees in these songs the life of a people, the possibilities of the future written in the past, the story of admirable strength developed through burden bearing, and purification by fire. This one chapter is a weighty contribution to the preservation and perpetuation of these songs. "Ever since I was a child," says he, "these songs stirred me strangely. They came out of the South un�known to me; one by one, and at once, I knew them as of me and of mine."
Dr. Henry E. Kriehbiel has for more than a quarter of a cen�tury been a faithful student of the Negro Folk Song. He has ana�lyzed, described and harmonized many specimens. He has lectured and written upon the subject and has published a book, "Afro-American Folk Songs." His viewpoint is that of the musician. He has a broad knowledge of the music and the work he has done is important and efficient.
Dr. Antonin Dvorak made in some ways the most effective pro�nouncement ever made regarding this music. When he announced that the only original music America could claim was the music of the Negro, he mildly startled the United States of America. There