Liberation and the Negro Spiritual

Liberation and The Negro Spiritual

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When I was growing up our incredibly talented and faithful choir director Mrs. Felicia Davis made sure that our choir and congregation sang and honored the old Negro spirituals.  I remember, and still sing to myself “I’ve been ‘buked and I’ve been scorned, I’ve  been ‘buked and I’ve been scorned, children, I’ve been talked about sure as you’re born”. And this spiritual goes on to say “Ain’t gonna lay my ‘ligion down, Ain’t gonna lay my ‘ligion down”

In more recent times, I have had an opportunity to hear the Fisk Jubileee Singers at my niece’s graduation sing “In that Great Gettin’ Up Morning, fare thee well, fare thee well”. According to pancocojams.blogspot.com this spiritual was written by a slave who could not count or read but “he tried to lead a Christian life and he dreamed of the Great Judgment, and told his fellow-servants about it, and then made a tune to it and sung it in his camp-meetings.”

If you listen to this you hear that

Not only did these spirituals speak to escaping the hardships of slavery. But through the use of these hymns, these slaves and ex-slaves kept themselves reminded of God’s perfect judgement and equality. Likewise we should keep ourselves encouraged, as the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians‬ ‭5:19‬ ‭KJV‬‬ “Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”

 

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Pastors Willie and Rochelle McIntosh

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