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Lyr Add: Little Black Me (Thurland Chattaway)

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Anti-racism, anti-prejudice songs (26)
(origins) Origin: if your skin is brown...skin is black (24)


Charley Noble 16 Apr 07 - 08:29 PM
Azizi 17 Apr 07 - 07:19 PM
katlaughing 17 Apr 07 - 07:44 PM
wysiwyg 17 Apr 07 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,mg 17 Apr 07 - 08:04 PM
Charley Noble 17 Apr 07 - 10:25 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Apr 07 - 02:09 AM
Jim Dixon 20 Apr 07 - 08:08 AM
Charley Noble 20 Apr 07 - 09:21 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Apr 07 - 04:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Apr 07 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Apr 07 - 08:41 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 10 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Clifford E Nichols 21 Nov 10 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Shovel 09 Jan 11 - 01:24 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Jan 11 - 07:24 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE BLACK ME (Thurland Chattaway)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Apr 07 - 08:29 PM

I'm not sure how I ran across this song, but it seems unusual for its time because part of its message is that it's alright to be Black, at least in Heaven:
^^
LITTLE BLACK ME

(Words and music by Thurland Chattaway, published by Howley, Haviland & Dresser, New York, New York, © 1899.)

Within a Sunday school a little child, one day,
Was list'ning to a teacher tell a story;
She told about the angels and she heard her say –
If little girls were as good as they could be –
That some day they might all of them be angels fair
Like those above who sang sweet songs of glory,
But when at night at mother's knee she said her prayer,
There came a sob, she sadly said: "They're not all-black like me!"

Chorus:

"Mama, are there any angels black like me?"
I've been as good as any little girl could be;
If I hide my face do you think they would see?
I wonder if they'll find a place for little black me?


And then the mother put the little child in bed;
She brushed away the tears while she was sleeping;
And in the night the angels gathered o'er her head;
Within their midst her child she seemed to see –
And when the morning came the child had passed away,
And while the mother by her side was weeping,
She thought her darling smiled; she seemed to hear her say:
"I'm with the angels, Mama, now; they've found a place for me." (CHO)

Here a link to the sheet music: Click here for website!

Thurland Chattaway was a popular music composer, active from approximately 1898 to 1912. Most famous for writing the words to the popular hit "Red Wing." Other songs include "Little Black Me" and "Can't You Take It Back and Change It For a Boy."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 07:19 PM

Charley, that's an interesting song. I've never seen it in print before nor have I heard of it.

I do agree that the song writer was ahead of his time in that he integregated heaven way back in 1899.

Even today, it's very rare to see angels depicted as being
non-White. I think this may have something to do with the color white being considered the sign of purity. But even if the motive isn't racist, imo, there could be and likely is a cumulative negative effect to seeing angels [and God, and Biblical figures including Jesus, and the disciples] as only White.

Green Pastures
is a 1936 movie that I remember seeing as as a young adult as a television special. In the movie "God, heaven, and several Old Testament stories, including the Creation and Noah's Ark, are described supposedly using the perspective of rural, black Americans." I seem to recall that the movie had quite a bit of stereotypical speech and typecasting. But the fact that God and other people from the Bible were depicted as Black had a profoundly positive effect on me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 07:44 PM

Interesting, Charley. Thanks for posting it.

I was able to find a few sites which offer contemporary art with black angels, but not many. The most beautiful was THIS ONE by Albert Fennell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 08:01 PM

I have a copy of Green Pastures. Despite the stereotypes, and despite the theological problems, I find it a powerful look at faith seen in an informal way as opposed to the mainstream view more usually offered in our society. Translating major Bible stories into cultural parallels people could relate to-- wonderful. And the music!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 08:04 PM

Yep..a Palestinian man and parents with blond hair and blue eyes...could happen but unlikely. There should be angels of every hue and likewise Madonnas, Holy Families etc. mg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 10:25 PM

Well, thanks for all the comments. It seemed an odd little song for 1899 and maybe it will be interesting to find out more about it. Nice to have the sheet music.

Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: JUST BECAUSE MY FACE AIN'T WHITE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 02:09 AM

Another remarkable thing about the sheet music to LITTLE BLACK ME: The cover shows an actual photograph of a black woman and child (against a painted backdrop depicting the interior of a log cabin).

This is quite a contrast to the ugly cartoon caricatures that I have often seen on the covers of old sheet music of "coon songs" of this era. Compared to them, this is quite dignified.

I looked for other songs by Thurland Chattaway and found this one:

JUST BECAUSE MY FACE AIN'T WHITE
(Click for the sheet music)
"Companion song to 'Little Black Me' by the same author," 1901.

1. 'Round a schoolhouse gate one summer's day, when lessons were all done,
A crowd of merry children lingered there,
Playing "ring around a rosey," "blind man's buff" and other games,
While shouts of childish laughter filled the air.
A child who stood close by just then began to cry,
As eagerly she watched the others play;
So I spoke to her and said, "What makes you cry, my little girl?"
Then tearfully these words I heard her say:

CHORUS: They won't let me come and play,
Though I try to do what's right.
When I speak, they turn away,
Just because my face ain't white.

2. Now this little girl had come from far off Cuba's sunny shore
To live beneath the flag of this great land;
So I called the children 'round and told to them the golden rule,
And then I took and joined each tiny hand.
Again they went to play, and as I came away,
Their merry voices rang out once again;
And among them there was one I heard that rose above them all,
A voice that once had sobbed this sad refrain: CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 08:08 AM

Here are all the songs I was able to find by Thurland Chattaway, arranged by date. Links go to sheet music.

1899 - FOOLISH WILLIAM : characteristic two-step
1899 - LITTLE BLACK ME : song & refrain
1899 - MANDY LEE : Song & Chorus
1901 - JUST BECAUSE MY FACE AIN'T WHITE
1901 - WHEN THE BLUE SKY TURNS TO GOLD : medley waltz
1903 - PLEASE DON'T BOTHER ME, by Thurland Chattaway & H G Banks
1904 - MY HONEY LOU : a darkey love song.
1905 - FAREWELL! SO LONG! GOOD-BYE!
1905 - GOOD BYE MY SOLDIER LAD.
1905 - PALS, GOOD OLD PALS
1906 - I HEARD MY MOTHER SINGING
1906 - IN A LITTLE HOUSE THAT'S BUILT FOR TWO
1906 - WE'VE BEEN CHUMS FOR FIFTY YEARS, by Thurland Chattaway & Richard Jose
1907 - A LITTLE SUIT OF BLUE
1907 - I'VE GROWN SO USED TO YOU : song
1907 - RED WING : an Indian fable, by Kerry Mills & Thurland Chattaway
1908 - SUN BIRD : an Indian intermezzo, by Kerry Mills & Thurland Chattaway
1910 - KERRY MILLS' BARN DANCE, by Kerry Mills & Thurland Chattaway
1911 - CAN'T YOU TAKE IT BACK, AND CHANGE IT FOR A BOY?
1912 - MANDY LEE : song and chorus
1912 - PEGGY GRAY
1912 - THE CELLO MAN
1915 - SWEET IRISH ROSE FROM DEAR OLD KILLARNEY : song
Date unknown: TROMBONE SAMMY : characteristic for piano


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 09:21 AM

Jim-

Good comment on the cover to the sheet music for "Little Black Me."

It does seem that Chattaway had some progressive ideas for the time, and enjoyed some degree of commercial success as well. The songs seem worth further review to me.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:29 PM

A few more-
Mandy Lee (1899) sheet music at Levy
Mandy Lee
Sun Bird (1908) sheet music at Levy; credited to Kerry Mills only; no lyrics. Lyrics not found.
In the Valley of Rest, 1905, Libr. Congress
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cocoon/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.100005086/pageturner.html
In the Valley

Others:
Just Send an Angel Down
In the Valley of San Juan
A Broken Vow
A Blighted Life


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Subject: Lyr Add: MANDY LEE (Thurland Chattaway)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:42 PM

Mandy Lee- http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/cgi-bin/display.pl?record=142.036.000&pages=4

Lyr. Add: MANDY LEE
Thurland Chattaway, 1899

Many years ago today,
Wedding bells were ringing gay,
Seemed as if they sang a song of love to me;
At the meeting house in town
All the folks were gathered round;
Down the aisle I proudly walked with Mandy Lee.
As we stood together there
A little sunbeam touched her hair,
Just as if it loved her too, the same as I;
Then the parson bowed his head,
Placed her hand in mine and said:
"Love and honor one another 'till you die."

Chorus:
Mandy Lee I love you, 'deed I do my Mandy Lee,
Your eyes they shine like diamonds, love, to me.
Seems as though my heart would break without you, Mandy Lee,
'Cause I love you, Mandy, 'deed I do, my Mandy Lee.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 08:41 PM

My fourth-grade teacher was a wonder - she taught use to dance to Nola, The Spanish Cavalier, multiple rounds and squares, memorization of poetry, Dr. IronBeard and Ol' Dan Tucker, and she also told the story of:

A little black child that came home in tears, to her mama, because of the taunting and teasing she had received at school.

The child's mother held her close, enfolded and rocked her in loving arms and said, "That's all right honey, there ain't no-where in The Bible that is says, 'God ain't black.'"

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me (Thurland Chattaway)
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 10 - 03:56 PM

To whom it may concern:

My name is John Sewell Chattaway, my nick name is Sam.

Thurland Chattaway was my grandfather. Thurland Chattaway, Jr. was my dad who passed away in 1952. I live in Sarasota, Fl. I have all the history files, photos, newpaper clipings, and sheet music for a lot of the songs in wrote. I was 10 years old when my grandfather passed away. He was a very kind man, even when he was taking out the garbage he had a kind word for anybody passing by.

Sam,

(941)342-6463


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me (Thurland Chattaway)
From: GUEST,Clifford E Nichols
Date: 21 Nov 10 - 05:08 PM

I sincerly Thank You all who contributed to this music of little Black me! MY mother used to sing this to me when i was a small child Iam now 77 years old and this song as been on my mine alot over the years. and i just told my wife about it and she said lets look on the intenet and see if there is any possiblity it could be there and sure enough there it was when she typed it in iam thirillled to find it and the sheet music for it so i thank you all very much for puting it here . Almost as though it were here for me to find and enjoy again in my older age..Thank YOu so much and GOd Bless You all for this.
MR> Clifford E Nicnols. of Idaho ,


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me (Thurland Chattaway)
From: GUEST,Shovel
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 01:24 PM

I'll post some audio from a 1901 performance here soon.
JB


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Little Black Me (Thurland Chattaway)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 07:24 PM

More downloadable sheet music of songs by Thurland Chattaway:

1907 - MADELINE
1908 - SUN BIRD: An Indian Intermezzo.
1910 - KERRY MILLS BARN DANCE


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