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Harlem Renaissance: Folk Music

How did slaves' folk music affect African American identity and mainstream society's racial attitudes?

Roots of African American Music

Roots of African American Music

African Americans slaves were brought to America by the Transatlantic Slave Trade, where different cultures were separated and others united. Slaves' lives were restricted in many ways but were not when introduced to music. They brought and created new musical instruments such as the banjo and drums. By understanding the root of African American music it allows for one to understand the difference it brought to the image of African Americans because the roots further back than they could have imagined.

si.edu
The History of African-American Folk Music

The History of African-American Folk Music

The article titled "The History of African American Folk Music" reveals that the slave era spirituals are not solely about struggles but empowerment. Empowerment in human rights and perseverance in the African American community. Initially, the songs were aimed to spread information to the slaves community. By introducing slave folk music it allowed for the uprising of blue music, jazz and hip-hop for future generation. Examining the effects of slave music it allows for one to understand the hope and faith it brought to a community which was portrayed as less than and brought forth a new movement to generations to come.

thoughtco.com
African American Spirituals

African American Spirituals

A spiritual is a type of religious folksong that is most closely associated with the enslavement of African descendence. Slaves on the plantation had meetings where they would dance and sing. However, the white owners portrayed it as wild and idolatrous and banned the meetings/worship. The slaves however, continued to have the meetings in secret. The songs presented demonstrated the sorrow slaves faced, while others were known as jubilees. Publications began in the 1860 and rolled into the twentieth century. Spirituals have played a significant role during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, spirituals as well as Gospel songs supported the efforts of civil rights activists.

loc.gov
Slavery and the Making of America . The Slave Experience: Education, Arts, & Culture | PBS

Slavery and the Making of America . The Slave Experience: Education, Arts, & Culture | PBS

The website directs one to a category with 3 different slave music. The three would be religious, work, and recreational songs. The majority of the songs were played by voice, hands, feet and at times instruments such as the banjo and fiddle. For example, the work song(below) demonstrates the slaves did not know what the next day would bring them. If it would bring death or if they would get the chance to escape. They did not know. However, what they did know was it was ending soon. "The Dark" may be portrayed as death and the lynching that took place on the platforms.
Arwhoolie (Cornfield holler)
Oh, etc.
I won't be here long.
Oh, etc.
Oh, dark gonna catch me here,
Dark gonna catch me here.
Oh, etc.

Overall, by examing the work songs, which brought the struggles and hope the slaves faced it formed new music which brought together the slaves on the plantations and as well brought recognition to what the slaves faced on the fields.

thirteen.org
Pathways to Freedom | Secrets: Signs and Symbols | Music

Pathways to Freedom | Secrets: Signs and Symbols | Music

Slave folk music not only demonstrated the struggles and created recognition for the slaves but also held secret messages. Take for example, Wade in the Water by Harriet Tubman

Chorus: Wade in the Water, wade in the water children.
Wade in the Water. God's gonna trouble the water.

Who are those children all dressed in Red?
God's gonna trouble the water.
Must be the ones that Moses led.
God's gonna trouble the water.

Chorus.

Who are those children all dressed in White?
God's gonna trouble the water.
Must be the ones of the Israelites.
God's gonna trouble the water.

Chorus.

Who are those children all dressed in Blue?
God's gonna trouble the water.
Must be the ones that made it through.
God's gonna trouble the water.
Chorus.

Tubman messaged escaping slaves to get off the trail and into the water because the dogs would not sniff them out and cause them to be captured again. By having the slave folk music it allows for a better community amongst themselves and protection from the danger presented from being black.

pathways.thinkport.org
Work Cited

Work Cited

alphabetical order & MLA style

accounts.google.com
Harlem Renaissance Inquiry Project Rubric

Harlem Renaissance Inquiry Project Rubric

accounts.google.com