Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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116                    FOLK SONG OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO.
songs are sung in melody abundant and divine. So important a place has this music assumed in the worship and in the life of Fisk that both teachers and students feel that something is lacking, and that there is a distinct loss, if these songs are not sung. These con�ditions are practically the same in a majority of the southern schools. This growing interest in his own music, the solitary connecting link between the lack of race respect and confidence, and the possibility of race consciousness, is a harbinger of the New Day of Hope.
To us who have been reared in surroundings more pleasant, much of the bitterness of slavery has passed away. In the consideration and kindness of the present, the past is almost forgotten. So to this class, this folk music has a somewhat different meaning. Not con�sumed by fires of bitter animosity, nor fanned by winds of antipathy, we see every good point of this music. Though we could not forget that it was born in slavery, to us it is beautiful. It does not express itself in the purity of the king's English, but, oh! the crooning sweet�ness of the dialect! It does not employ the smoothed, well-balanced sentences of the classics, but, oh! the directness, the pithiness, the strength! Its melody does not flow in channels laid out by the great musicians, but, what is more to be praised, its melody is all its own. It is original in its beauty. In its entirety it does not touch with satisfaction the intellects of the standard composers, but it most assuredly touches the heart of all mankind. It may be our fathers' history of their enslaved past, but it is also projecting itself into a future full of bright promise, for he needs not to be called a prophet who predicts that out of our fathers' song there will be evolved a greater song, sublime and glorious. Its coming is foretold by the forerunners, Nathaniel Dett, Frederick^ J. Work, Harry T. Burleigh, Coleridge-Taylor, Henry fi. Krehbiel, and Anton Dvorak.
Further, these songs are to us a storehouse of comfort. How can we ever forget those by-gone days when our mothers sang them to us as our lullabies? "This old-time religion, makes me love every�body." Think of the great blessing of being sung to sleep by such a lullaby�"Makes Me Love Everybody!" Think of the great favor of being reared in the atmosphere of "Lord, I Want to be Like Jesus!" In times of sorrow, we have heard our mothers sing "Keep Me from Sinking Down," and often, oh! so often, "March on and You Shall Gain the Victory," has rung with such meaning through the humble home. Can you blame us for loving these songs which have so much inspired us to be and to do ?