Slavery and spirituals


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Slavery and spirituals

  1. 1.  Division between North and South ◦ North: Commerce, education, banking, science, reform ◦ South: Plantations (cotton, sugar, rice, tobacco), slower- paced, slavery Biggest division = Slavery First African slaves in U.S. = 1619 Slave trade banned in 1808 Slave rebellions = 1820s-1830s ◦ Southern states made laws taking away slaves’ rights
  2. 2.  South- depended on slaves for cheap labor on plantations North- birth of abolition (protesting slavery) Fugitive Slave Act- 1850 ◦ All citizens (in free and slave states) required to help catch runaway slaves ◦ South supported, North opposed ◦ Underground Railroad = secret network of activists helping fugitive slaves reach freedom Disagreements finally led to Civil War
  3. 3.  Folk songs of enslaved and oppressed African Americans Social and religious content ◦ Freedom, protest, slave life ◦ Glory of God, getting to heaven, prayers Plantation owners encouraged singing to boost morale ◦ Didn’t realize the power and double meaning of songs
  4. 4.  References to people, places, events of Bible Used these stories to represent their own situation ◦ Moses leading Jews out of slavery in Egypt Code for escaping slavery ◦ “Follow the Drinking Gourd”  Follow the Big Dipper north to freedom
  5. 5.  Refrain: a word, phrase, or group of lines repeated at regular intervals ◦ Emphasizes the most important ideas ◦ Helps establish the rhythm of the song Call-and-response: a leader sings the verses and the rest of the group sings the refrain Mood: the feeling created in a reader ◦ Spirituals mainly focus on pain & rage caused by slavery conditions or hope for freedom & future
  6. 6. 1. What does the speaker desire?2. What is the religious reference in the song?3. Which phrase is the refrain?4. What code/hidden messages might be in this song? Think of what “sweet chariot” and “band of angels” could refer to.5. What is the mood of this spiritual?