Archive for the ‘Slave history’ Category

Author: LeRoy Moore, Jr.

Source: American Quarterly, Vol. 23, N° 5, Dec., 1971, pp. 658-676

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“THE AMERICAN NEGRO SPIRITUALS ARE THE PRODUCT OF THE FUSION OF Christian piety and the slave experience of persons of African descent. Alain Locke designated the antebellum decades beginning about 1830 as the “classic” period of the composition of these songs.  The aptness of his designation is indicated on the one hand by the fact that after the Civil War the songs were available to compilers, cataloguers, commentators and jubilee singers,  and on the other that in the decades immediately before the war circumstances converged to provide the conditions out of which the spirituals arose.”

CONTINUE READING HERE

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Author: George Washington Williams

Source: http://archive.org/details/historyofnegrora00willrich

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“George Washington Williams, was a 19th century American historian most famous for his volumes, History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880; as Negroes, as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens (1882), and A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion (1887).”

READ THE LATTER WORK HERE.

“Williams was born in 1849 in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania and lived there until 1864, when at the age of 14 and lacking virtually any education he left home to join the Union Army. Engaged by the soldier’s lifestyle, he followed this by fighting in Mexico in the overthrow of Maximilian.

After his military career and out of a deep desire for education Williams attended the Newton Theological Institution in Massachusetts. By the time he was 25 years old he had graduated, married, and become pastor of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Boston. During the next several years he wrote as a columnist for the Cincinnati Commercial, became a lawyer, founded a Boston newspaper called The Commoner (1875), and became the first black member of his state legislature.

Williams spent only one term in political office, partly because he saw little chance of reelection, and partly because he increasingly desired to commit the majority of his time to working as a historian. In his historical works Williams strove for objectivity and the truthful recording of history, but he also essentially wrote from a revisionist perspective. He researched avidly and wrote with the goal of rerecording American history to honestly and responsibly include the roles and experiences of African Americans.

His first text, The History of the Negro Race in America, received a plethora of literary reviews — largely favorable critiques. Of the negative reviews he faced, most critics noted that his writing style tended to be overblown and was tinted by his theological training.  Nonetheless almost all reviewers noted the immense value of the work he had done. Public reaction was by and large a kind of amazement — both because of the extent of his work (the text was two volumes in total) and because he was an African American. In fact his light skin tone and dignified demeanor gained him more respect from white Americans than may have been expected at the time. A History of the Negro Troops received similar but generally better reviews.

In 1890 Williams studied conditions in the Belgian Congo at the commission of President Benjamin Harrison and on one occasion wrote a letter of complaint to the Belgian Crown about the treatment of the indigenous Africans.  Although he had hoped to spark a movement in protest of the Belgian government’s role in its African colony, little came of his effort in the U.S.  He then moved to England to work on a book which would focus on Africa. Unfortunately Williams fell ill shortly after arriving in England and died at the age of 41.”

(http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/williams-george-washington-1849-1891)

Author: George Washington Williams

Source: http://archive.org/details/historyofnegrora00willrich

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“George Washington Williams, was a 19th century American historian most famous for his volumes, History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880; as Negroes, as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens (1882), and A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion (1887).”

READ THE FORMER WORK HERE.

“Williams was born in 1849 in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania and lived there until 1864, when at the age of 14 and lacking virtually any education he left home to join the Union Army. Engaged by the soldier’s lifestyle, he followed this by fighting in Mexico in the overthrow of Maximilian.

After his military career and out of a deep desire for education Williams attended the Newton Theological Institution in Massachusetts. By the time he was 25 years old he had graduated, married, and become pastor of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Boston. During the next several years he wrote as a columnist for the Cincinnati Commercial, became a lawyer, founded a Boston newspaper called The Commoner (1875), and became the first black member of his state legislature.

Williams spent only one term in political office, partly because he saw little chance of reelection, and partly because he increasingly desired to commit the majority of his time to working as a historian. In his historical works Williams strove for objectivity and the truthful recording of history, but he also essentially wrote from a revisionist perspective. He researched avidly and wrote with the goal of rerecording American history to honestly and responsibly include the roles and experiences of African Americans.

His first text, The History of the Negro Race in America, received a plethora of literary reviews — largely favorable critiques. Of the negative reviews he faced, most critics noted that his writing style tended to be overblown and was tinted by his theological training.  Nonetheless almost all reviewers noted the immense value of the work he had done. Public reaction was by and large a kind of amazement — both because of the extent of his work (the text was two volumes in total) and because he was an African American. In fact his light skin tone and dignified demeanor gained him more respect from white Americans than may have been expected at the time. A History of the Negro Troops received similar but generally better reviews.

In 1890 Williams studied conditions in the Belgian Congo at the commission of President Benjamin Harrison and on one occasion wrote a letter of complaint to the Belgian Crown about the treatment of the indigenous Africans.  Although he had hoped to spark a movement in protest of the Belgian government’s role in its African colony, little came of his effort in the U.S.  He then moved to England to work on a book which would focus on Africa. Unfortunately Williams fell ill shortly after arriving in England and died at the age of 41.”

(http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/williams-george-washington-1849-1891)

Author: Louise Rand Bascom

Source: The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 22, No. 84, Apr. – Jun., 1909

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The first written record of the legend of John Henry.

Read the article HERE

The following broadside, from the Guy Benton Johnson Papers, represents what is thought to be the oldest printed version of the ballad of John Henry. A note that accompanies the broadside reads:

“This is a copy of the oldest known printed form of the John Henry ballad. It was obtained in 1927 by Dr. Guy B. Johnson from Mrs. C.L. Lynn of Rome, Georgia, who said ‘It is very old and has been in our family for many years’. This copy appears in Dr. Johnson’s book, John Henry: Tracking Down a Negro Legend, which was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 1929.”

(source: http://www.lib.unc.edu/blogs/sfc/index.php/category/collections/guy-b-johnson-papers/)

Author: Robert C. Toll
Source: Journal of the Folklore Institute, vol. 8, n° 1, 1971

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The author examines the stereotypical images of slaves in antebellum minstrelsy.

Read the article HERE

Author: J. Hunter Moore
Source: http://discoverarchive.vanderbilt.edu/jspui/handle/1803/3941

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This paper examines the singing by enslaved Africans in the Transatlantic slave trade, the importance of singing to the people of West Africa, and its importance to the descendants of enslaved Africans in the Transatlantic colonies and United States.

Abstract: 

“Throughout the Transatlantic slave trade enslaved Africans sang. In holding pens called barracoons awaiting shipment, aboard slave ships crossing the Atlantic, and in the transatlantic colonies, singing was a common feature of daily life and special events. Many people sing, but for enslaved Africans singing may have been a means of survival. Slaves often found themselves surrounded by other slaves with whom they had no prior social relationship. Singing would have enabled them to create an immediate sense of community, mitigating the effects of the severe dislocation they suffered. Singing also helped to preserve a sense of community among slaves once they were settled in the colonies. Contemporary accounts attest to the importance of both singing and community in West Africa, the source for the majority of slaves in the transatlantic trade. Similar evidence exists for African slaves in the British colonies of the Caribbean and North America as well as for their descendants. Finally, a positive view of the creative adaptation or “creolization” of cultural forms by enslaved Africans is compared with earlier analyses that described it as being purely destructive.”

(Vanderbilt University)

READ THE PAPER HERE

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Authors: Howard Odum & Guy Johson

Source: archive.org

1926. Negro workaday songs. University of North Carolina Press

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Howard Odum can be said to be a pioneer in the study of the social life and folk culture of the South.

Negro Workaday Songs, published in 1926, reprinted in 1969, is one of his key works.

Odum, Howard Washington, (May 24, 1884 – Nov. 8, 1954), sociologist, was born near Bethlehem, Ga., the son of William Pleasants Odum and Mary Ann Thomas Odum. He grew up in modest circumstances on his family’s small farm. His formal education was a product of hard work, borrowed money, and happy coincidence. At the age of thirteen the family moved to Oxford, Ga., where he attended Emory Academy and College, graduating in 1904 with the B.A. degree in English and classics. Negro Workaday Songs is the third volume of a series of folk background studies of which The Negro and His Songs was the first and Folk-Beliefs of the Southern Negro was the second. So far as Odum was aware, none of the songs in this collection had been published and the songs were all sung or repeated by actual Black workers or singers and much of their value lies in the exact transcription of natural lines, words and mixtures. Odum intended his study of Black music as a series of pictures of the Black American as portrayed through his workaday songs.He has taken the position that these workaday songs, crude and fragmentary, and often having only local or individual significance, provide a more accurate picture of Negro working life than do conventional folk songs. Odum’s book is also an important contribution to the history of the blues in America and a collector’s item in that field

READ IT HERE

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