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Foreword

Foreword Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: to make a poet black, and bid him sing! These words written by Countee Cullen, a black poet of the Harlem Renaissance and the son of a powerful and popular Methodist preacher of that era, express my sentiments as I pore over and ponder these unique findings of the compiler, Jon Michael Spencer, printed in this volume. I still marvel that the caged bird sings. I still marvel that such a weary people could find a cheerful song and express such poetic effusions-some without benefit of letter or lyre-while struggling against a heinous chau­ vinism and the nineteenth-century American version of apart­ heid. I still marvel more that there breathes throughout these songs faith in a God who "will whisper sweet peace to your soul" while they urged the singers to "march on, fight on!" I still marvel that these sons and daughters of fairly recently freed slaves, while facing the exigencies of an unresolved American dilemma, could sing such celebratory songs. How could they sing? How dared they sing? Why not really fight? If they must make music, then why not drum the war against their enemies? Create alarms of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

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Copyright
Copyright © 1990 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-4.1.ix
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: to make a poet black, and bid him sing! These words written by Countee Cullen, a black poet of the Harlem Renaissance and the son of a powerful and popular Methodist preacher of that era, express my sentiments as I pore over and ponder these unique findings of the compiler, Jon Michael Spencer, printed in this volume. I still marvel that the caged bird sings. I still marvel that such a weary people could find a cheerful song and express such poetic effusions-some without benefit of letter or lyre-while struggling against a heinous chau­ vinism and the nineteenth-century American version of apart­ heid. I still marvel more that there breathes throughout these songs faith in a God who "will whisper sweet peace to your soul" while they urged the singers to "march on, fight on!" I still marvel that these sons and daughters of fairly recently freed slaves, while facing the exigencies of an unresolved American dilemma, could sing such celebratory songs. How could they sing? How dared they sing? Why not really fight? If they must make music, then why not drum the war against their enemies? Create alarms of

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 1990

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