Guide My Bondage and My Freedom: The Givens Collection

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Publication Timeline. Most widely held works about Sr. Most widely held works by Sr. My bondage and my freedom by Frederick Douglass Book 1 edition published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide "Frederick Douglass was born a slave and escaped to freedom in his twenties. My Bondage and My Freedom was written after he had established himself as a newspaper editor. In this book, Douglass expands upon his previous accounts of his years as a slave. With great psychological penetration, he probes the longterm and corrosive effects of slavery and comments upon his active resistance to the segregation he encounters in the North.

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The Archie Givens, Sr. This book is the deeply moving story of his life -- as a slave, and as a free man. Douglass wrote three autobiographies, of which the edition is the most detailed on his life as a slave. In it, readers are not spared the fullest and most graphic descriptions of the cruelty of slavery.

Table of contents

The rhythms of Protestant hymns were transformed and the songs were played on African-inspired instruments. Spiritual songs which looked forward to a time of future happiness, or deliverance from tribulation, were often known as jubilees.

Some sources claim that songs such as " Wade in the Water " contained explicit instructions to fugitive slaves on how to avoid capture, and on which routes to take to successfully make their way to freedom. However, there is a firmer consensus that the recurring theme of "freedom" in the Biblical references was understood as a reference to the slaves' own desire for escape from bondage.


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Frederick Douglass , himself a former slave who became one of the leading 19th-century African-American literary and cultural figures, emphasized the dual nature of the lyrics of spirituals when he recalled in Chapter VI of his My Bondage and My Freedom :. I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meanings of those rude, and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle, so that I neither saw or heard as those without might see and hear.

Spiritual (music)

They told a tale which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones, loud, long and deep, breathing the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirits, and filled my heart with ineffable sadness. The mere recurrence, even now, afflicts my spirit, and while I am writing these lines, my tears are falling.

To those songs I trace my first glimmering conceptions of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds. Noted African American literary critic Sterling Allen Brown , who had interviewed former slaves and their children, was firm in his assertion in a article in Phylon that.

Some scholars who have found parallels between the words of Negro and white spirituals would have us believe that when the Negro sang of freedom, he meant only what the whites meant, namely freedom from sin. Free, individualistic whites on the make in a prospering civilization, nursing the American dream, could well have felt their only bondage to be that of sin, and freedom to be religious salvation. But with the drudgery, the hardships, the auction-block, the slave-mart, the shackles, and the lash so literally present in the Negro's experience, it is hard to imagine why for the Negro they would remain figurative.

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The scholars certainly do not make it clear, but rather take refuge in such dicta as: "The slave did not contemplate his low condition. Ex-slaves, of course, inform us differently.

Frederic Douglass My Bondage and My Freedom Reading

The spirituals speak up strongly for freedom not only from sin dear as that freedom was to the true believer but from physical bondage. Those attacking slavery as such had to be as rare as anti-Hitler marching songs in occupied France. But there were oblique references. Frederick Douglass has told us of the double-talk of the spirituals: Canaan, for instance, stood for Canada; and over and beyond hidden satire the songs also were grapevines for communications.

Harriet Tubman, herself called the Moses of her people, has told us that " Go Down Moses " was tabu in the slave states, but the people sang it nonetheless. More recently, music critic Thomas Barker has critiqued definitions of freedom that separate its spiritual and material elements:. Following George P. Rawick's article on "The Historical Roots of Black Liberation," academic studies on the antebellum south have developed a more nuanced outlook on slave psychology.

Within the liberal academy, this dialectical understanding of slave consciousness effectively broke the back of the simplistic Sambo-Revolutionary dichotomy, giving way to a plethora of treatises that examine the ways that slaves mediated the tension between passivity and insurrection see Blassingame, ; Genovese, ; Levine, ; Stuckey, However, studies that examine the role played by music in articulating the concept of freedom have frequently reproduced this problematic binary.

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With those who see slave song as teaching freedom in the afterlife in one camp, and those who see it as a material call to arms in the other, this dichotomy ill befits Rawick's multifaceted analysis. Consistent with the beliefs of slave religion, which saw the material and the spiritual as part of an intrinsic unity, "freedom", it is argued, should be seen as simultaneously spiritual and material. Rosamond Johnson presented spirituals as the only type of folk music that America has.

Some spirituals were adapted as work songs. Spirituals remain a mainstay particularly in small black churches, often Baptist or Pentecostal, in the deep South. In the s, Reverend Alexander Reid, superintendent of the Spencer Academy in the old Choctaw Nation , hired some enslaved Africans from the Choctaws for some work around the school. He heard two of them, " Uncle Wallace " and "Aunt Minerva" Willis, singing religious songs that they had apparently composed. They were singing mostly popular music of the day, and Reid thought the songs he remembered from his time in the Choctaw Nation would be at least as appropriate.

He and his wife transcribed the songs of the Willises as they remembered them and sent them to Fisk University. The Jubilee Singers put on their first performance singing the old captives' songs at a religious conference in Wallace Willis died in or In an attempt to raise money for Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, the Fisk Jubilee Singers gave concerts in Europe and America and helped make African American spirituals become extremely popular.

Ultimately, this became a fad and caused spiritual music to become mainstream. However, these groups sang spirituals in the white, European style. Over time, the pieces the Jubilee Singers performed came to be arranged and performed by trained musicians. In , Mark Twain , whose father had owned slaves, found Fisk singing to be "in the genuine old way" he remembered from childhood.

By contrast an anonymous review in the Peoria Journal said: "they have lost the wild rhythms, the barbaric melody, the passion A group of lyrics to African American spirituals was published by Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson , who commanded a regiment of former slaves during the Civil War, in an article in The Atlantic Monthly [25] and subsequently included in his memoir Army Life in a Black Regiment The latter half of the 20th century saw a resurgence of the spiritual.

This trend was impacted strongly by composers and musical directors such as Moses Hogan and Brazeal Dennard. Arthur Jones founded "The Spirituals Project" at the University of Denver in to help keep alive the message and meaning of the songs that had moved from the fields of the South to the concert halls of the North. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Spiritual music including religious songs that were created by enslaved African people in the United States.

For the David Murray album, see Spirituals album. For other uses, see Spiritual.