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Dieterich Spirituals During Slavery

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Literature 1950s
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Dieterich Spirituals During Slavery

  1. 1. Spirituals During Slavery
  2. 2. <ul><li>During slavery (starting with the first slaves to arrive in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 and continuing until 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery), spirituals evolved to serve a variety of purposes in the fight for freedom. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Lyrics from the spirituals served as metaphors for the troubling times slaves faced in their struggles for freedom </li></ul>
  4. 4. Purposes for Spirituals <ul><li>Expression of democratic values and community solidarity </li></ul><ul><li>Source of inspiration and motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Expressions of protest </li></ul><ul><li>Coded communication </li></ul>
  5. 5. Democratic Values and Community Solidarity <ul><li>Enslaved Africans affirmed the traditional African emphasis on the importance of family and (tribal) community identity </li></ul><ul><li>Every member of the community was welcomed into the circle. A counter- clockwise circle dance ceremony was held while singing. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Inspiration and Motivation <ul><li>Provided motivation and inspiration for the ongoing struggle for freedom </li></ul><ul><li>Struggles included systematic efforts to escape from bondage, slave-led revolts and insurrections </li></ul><ul><li>Most often about heroes from ancestors’ bravery, victors in battles, or Christian Bible </li></ul>
  7. 7. Expressions of Protest <ul><li>Direct expressions of protest were dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>Creators of these songs went to considerable lengths to disguise the true meanings of the lyrics </li></ul><ul><li>For those within the enslaved community, the meanings were very clear </li></ul>
  8. 8. Coded Communication <ul><li>Imbedded “hidden” or coded messages in the lyrics for the purposes of clandestine (secret) communication on the Underground Railroad </li></ul><ul><li>One of the first public revelations by a former slave of this secret communication is found in Frederick Douglass’s autobiographical writings </li></ul>

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