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Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement Jon Michael Spencer Adaptations of Traditional Spirituals There are two basic categories of freedom spirituals: ( 1) group participation songs often extemporaneously adapted from extant material by an assemblage involved in civil rights activities, and (2) professionally composed topical songs which comment on protest events from the sideline. A large number of freedom songs were adaptations of traditional spirituals and, to an extent, gospel songs. Typically these forms, especially the gospel songs, were stapled down to the mundane by means of textual modifications. For example, the song, "If You Miss Me from Praying Down Here," was changed to "If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus," "This Little Light of Mine" to "This Little Light of Freedom," "Woke Up this Morning with My Mind on Jesus" to "Woke Up this Morning with My Mind on Freedom," "When I'm in Trouble, Lord, Walk with Me '' to "Down in the Jailhouse, Lord, Walk with Me," and "If You Want to Get to Heaven, Do What Jesus Says" to "If You Want to Get Your Freedom, Register and Vote." The "anthem" of the civil rights movement, "We Shall Overcome," is a of the tune to the old Baptist hymn http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

Black Sacred Music , Volume 1 (2) – Sep 1, 1987

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Copyright
© Copyright 1987 JBSM/Jon Michael Spencer
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-1.2.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Jon Michael Spencer Adaptations of Traditional Spirituals There are two basic categories of freedom spirituals: ( 1) group participation songs often extemporaneously adapted from extant material by an assemblage involved in civil rights activities, and (2) professionally composed topical songs which comment on protest events from the sideline. A large number of freedom songs were adaptations of traditional spirituals and, to an extent, gospel songs. Typically these forms, especially the gospel songs, were stapled down to the mundane by means of textual modifications. For example, the song, "If You Miss Me from Praying Down Here," was changed to "If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus," "This Little Light of Mine" to "This Little Light of Freedom," "Woke Up this Morning with My Mind on Jesus" to "Woke Up this Morning with My Mind on Freedom," "When I'm in Trouble, Lord, Walk with Me '' to "Down in the Jailhouse, Lord, Walk with Me," and "If You Want to Get to Heaven, Do What Jesus Says" to "If You Want to Get Your Freedom, Register and Vote." The "anthem" of the civil rights movement, "We Shall Overcome," is a of the tune to the old Baptist hymn

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 1987

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