The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81179   Message #1485124
Posted By: Azizi
14-May-05 - 11:38 PM
Thread Name: African American Secular Folk Songs
Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
I am also interested in considering the similarities between the structure & texts of those folk songs that are considered to be of African American origin and the differences between these songs and non-African American folk songs.

And when I use the term 'origin', I do not mean to imply that these songs were all fully and freshly created by one or more anonymous African American slave or freed person or free person.

As Scaborough demonstrated in her book, and others have also written about, African Americans were 'instrumental' in preserving a great many folk songs from Europe-and the folk process was used to create interesting variants of those songs.

However, there were also song that WERE created whole cloth. And I'm interested in finding out information about those songs to-and advocating for credit to be given where credit is due.

And since I am not a believer in art for arts sake, what drives my interest in this is my belief that a more consistent listing of American folk songs that includes acknowledgement of racial origin when known can enhance the self-esteem and group esteem of African Americans, and can also provide a more accurate picture for African Americans and non-African Americans about slave culture and Black responses to their situations.

To that end, I am also interested in [here on Mudcat and elsewhere} in heightening awareness of the existence of African American secular slave songs that do not support the sterotypical image of the complacent Black slave who was resigned to his and her fate and made no protest or took no actions against that fate {apart from the periodic eruptions of slave revolts}.

"Die in the pig pen fighting" that I posted above is one example of the type of songs I mean. However, as I mentioned before if one really examines the very familiar "Jimmy Crack Corn" song from the perspective of the Black slave who was singing it, it has a rather different meaning than just fun and games.