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It's About Songs That Were Sung By African Americans Back In The 19th Century. They Were Slave Songs That Helped Africn Americans To Communicate

1747 words - 7 pages

SpiritualsSpirituals were made by a communal group interaction within a church, not written by one author. Most spirituals are based from the Old Testament. The heroes in biblical stories gave the slaves hope that god would save them. Slave's spirituals expressed the slave's daily life such as their sorrows, inspirations, coded messages to each other and their hopes of being free some day. The beginning spirituals were influenced by African culture, but by the time the latter spirituals came spirituals were greatly influence by the European culture. Spirituals were made to help the world respect and love all of Gods creatures, to enforce the belief that all people were connected by way of sprits, and to encourage brotherhood. "Spirituals are folk poetry, the cultural and historical record of African American people in their struggle for survival, freedom, and equality" (Hill, 14).In the spiritual "Steal Away" (Hill 236), it mentions "Stealing away to Jesus... I ain't got long to stay here" (Hill 236). The imagery that is inferred from this song is a thunderstorm. A thunderstorm is also imaginable through the personification of God speaking through the thunder. The spiritual also symbolizes the act of getting your life together. Another cited spiritual is "Oh Mary, don't you weep" (Hill 236). The imagery in this spiritual is of a woman crying out in sorrow because of her enslavement. The personification is of the world being able to shake and dance. Thus, symbolizing that there's no longer anything to worry about, and there's going to be a brighter day. The spiritual "Wade in the Water" (Hill 238), displays an image of children standing in water. Leading into the personification of God changing the children from one way to another through the water. Symbolizing, people going to the water and getting their life in order for the Lord. Another spiritual is "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" (Hill 237). The imagery portrayed in this hymn is of a horse and carriage descending from the sky to take someone to heaven. Thus, symbolizing death and the after life of going to heaven. In the spiritual "Before I'd be a slave (Oh Freedom)" (Hill 240), there is an implied image of someone refusing to go into slavery, symbolizing freedom, possibly because of death.In other spirituals, such as, "Over my head" (Spirituals in concert), there is an image of actually being able to look up in the sky and being able to see music notes in the air. The personification of God playing a happy melody in heaven, with the joy that comes in going to heaven being the symbolization. Another recorded spiritual is "To Calvary" (Spirituals in concert). The portrayed image in this song is of Jesus being nailed to the cross; symbolizing the day he was crucified. Personifying the men hammering Jesus' hands to the cross. "Sinner, please don't let this harvest past" (Spirituals in concert), is another spiritual. In this spiritual there is an imagery of people standing in farmland watching a...

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