Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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shackled, singing and living a brotherly love, the all important fact is that this phenomenon was a real, live force in the heart of these, God's children.
One of the noblest fruits of love is patience. Because God's black child loved his Father, he was willing to accept as wise his Father's dispensation, and walk, almost without complaint or question the dark, stormy, thorny path he could not see, and endure meekly the sorrow-laden life which he could not understand. Because he loved his fellows, he was willing to bear with their shortcomings, feeling that if he should "wait a little while," man's humanity would assert itself, and bring to him opportunity and happiness, all the more ex�tensive and deep because he endured so long and so painfully. In the awful struggle between inhumanity and patience, patience triumphed, and patience triumphant is what the slave has wrought out and presented to the world, and still he cries, "Lord, make me more patient/'
It is the common way of the world to class love, patience, and meekness among the fragile pulchritudes of human character, and to stamp as weak and pusillanimous those persons whom these qual�ities dominate. It is the world's way of thinking that character, to be admirable, must be a live kinetic energy, moving things before it or drawing them in the wake. Many powerful personalities, with�out any dirigent love for their fellows to make them benefactors, have called forth clamorous praises from the world, because they could "make things go" or could "do things." And much of the world has refused to accept as its standard the one perfect character because he did not overcome his enemies and build up his kingdom by force. But as the years come on, bringing the exigencies and crises in human affairs that try men's souls, the world is most assuredly recognizing the efficacy and beneficence of force ruled by love, pa�tience, and meekness.
Patience breathes through all the Negro's songs, yet though he has loved, has been patient and meek almost to such a degree that the world has sometimes thought him cowardly, there is abundant proof both in his music and in his life, that the blood of a coward flows not in his veins. The most striking of his martial songs are: