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Slave Songs of the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Slave Songs of the United States, title page
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen

Slave Songs of the United States was a collection of African American music consisting of 136 songs. Published in 1867, it was the first, and most influential,[1][2] collection of spirituals to be published. The collectors of the songs were Northern abolitionists William Francis Allen, Lucy McKim Garrison, and Charles Pickard Ware.[3] The group transcribed songs sung by the Gullah Geechee people of Saint Helena Island, South Carolina.[4] These people were newly freed slaves who were living in a refugee camp when these songs were collected.[5] It is a "milestone not just in African American music but in modern folk history".[6][7][8][9] It is also the first published collection of African-American music of any kind.[10]

The making of the book is described by Samuel Charters, with an emphasis on the role of Lucy McKim Garrison.[11] A segment of History Detectives explored the book's history and significance.[12]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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Notable Songs

Several notable and popular songs in the book include:

The book provides instructions for singing, which is accompanied by a discussion of the history of each song, with potential variations, interpretations of key references, and other related details. In the Dover edition, Harold Courlander contributes a new preface that evaluates the book's significance in both American musical and cultural history.

See also


  • Black, Robert (1968). "Reviewed Work: Slave Songs of the United States by Irving Schlein". Journal of the International Folk Music Council. 20: 82–83 – via JSTOR.
  • Chase, Gilbert (2000). America's Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-00454-X.
  • Crawford, Richard (2001). America's Musical Life: A History. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04810-1.
  • Darden, Robert (1996). People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel Music. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8264-1752-3.
  • Koskoff, Ellen, ed. (2000). Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 3: The United States and Canada. Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8240-4944-6.
  • National Conference on Music of the Civil War Era (2004). Mark A. Snell; Bruce C. Kelley (eds.). Bugle Resounding: Music and Musicians of the Civil War Era. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-1538-6.
  • Southern, Eileen (1997). Music of Black Americans. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-03843-2.


  1. ^ Darden, pg. 71
  2. ^ Southern, pg. 152
  3. ^ Crawford, pg. 416
  4. ^ Crawford, Eric. "The Negro Spiritual of Saint Helena Island: An Analysis of its Repertoire during the Periods 1860-1920, 1921-1939, and 1972-present". Washington Research Library Consortium. The Catholic University of America. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  5. ^ Black, Robert (1968). "Reviewed Work: Slave Songs of the United States by Irving Schlein". Journal of the International Folk Music Council. 20: 82–83. doi:10.2307/836087. JSTOR 836087 – via JSTOR.
  6. ^ Darden, pgs. 99-100
  7. ^ Maultsby, Portia K.; Mellonee V. Burnin; Susan Oehler. "Overview". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 572–591.
  8. ^ Ramsey, Jr., Guthrie P. (Spring 1996). "Cosmopolitan or Provincial?: Ideology in Early Black Music Historiography, 1867-1940". Black Music Research Journal. Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 16, No. 1. 16 (1): 11–42. doi:10.2307/779375. JSTOR 779375.
  9. ^ Snell and Kelley, pg. 22
  10. ^ Chase, pg. 215
  11. ^ Charters, Samuel. 2015. Songs of Sorrow: Lucy McKim Garrison and "Slave Songs of the United States". Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-62846-206-7
  12. ^ "Slave Songbook | History Detectives | PBS". Retrieved 2018-03-28.

External links

This page was last edited on 31 January 2024, at 05:52
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