Frederic Douglas Slave Songs Essay

886 Words May 25th, 2003 4 Pages
Essay #1 (A)

The lyrics of songs inspire people to think and do many things. Today, songs expressing the quality of being beautiful and important in society can be found. Songs encouraging love and taking chances within oneself and others are listened to. None the less, there exists songs expressing hatred, anger, sorrow, and feelings of desolation. Lyrics are limitless, they simply express that of the person's internal emotions. Songs can convey a misunderstanding or an unclear interpretation. Much like the lyrics of today, slave songs conveyed a deep and heart-wrenching message, that to many listeners, were never quite understood. Songs are simply an expression of truth. In an environment which otherwise punished truth,
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Many songs were pleas for freedom. Freedom in the sense of the land to the North, and freedom meaning death, the ultimate release from servitude. In the song, "Before I'd be a Slave (Oh Freedom)" the chorus is as follows: "Before I'd be a slave I'd be buried in my grave And go home to my Lord-- and be saved" (Call and Response, pg 240).

Without even needing explanation, these lines burn with the fact that if given the choice of dying or to continue living in enslavement, the outcome would be death. This has no happy tune. It in no way should be misunderstood as gratitude for the life which they had been brought into. This is a testimony against slavery, "a prayer to God for deliverance from chains ." ( Douglas, Chapter II, pg. 280). Slaves were auctioned like property, like animals, like brutes in front of all of the other slaves. They watched their families being sold to other masters, other plantations, even other states. They sang for their desolation and sorrows for their families. They groaned utterances and low tones for their scars on their bodies, sores on their hands and feet, and holes in their souls where slavery had destroyed their inner freedom. They were dehumanized in its true definition: deprived of all human qualities, personalities and spirit. Slaves were fed using troughs, sold with pigs, whipped, expected to adhere to any sexual advances made at

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