The American Civil War was the deadliest war this country ever fought. Over 600,000 soldiers were killed on both sides, surpassing by 200,000 the number of dead in World War II. Yet, for the first time, Americans in large numbers began to hear Southern slave music and this changed our reliance on European musical models from then on. Native black folk music blended with European music to develop a new kind of American music. This happened through the socialization of white and black soldiers, the creation of new songs to spur the war effort and through songs that recorded the progress of the war. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in an effort to bring slaves over to the Union cause. The North had just begun winning battles after two years of steady losses and the president hoped this trend would continue with the freeing of the slaves. Negro spirituals before the Civil War cried out for freedom in heaven because their true intent had to he disguised from their oppressors for fear of punishment. "Walk in Jerusalem," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and "Get On Board, Little Children’’ carried secret codes and signals to help many slaves escape. "Oh Freedom’’ was
Work Sowork
Work Song
Westampton Memorial American Legion Post 509
Breaking rocks out here on the chain gang Breaking rocks and serving my time Breaking rocks out here on the chain gang Because they done convicted me of crime Hold it steady right there while I hit it Well I reckon that ought to get it Been Working and working But I still got so terribly far to go I committed crime Lord I needed I left the grocery store man bleeding (breathing?) Crime of being hungry and poor When they caught me robbing his store Hold it steady right there while I hit it Well I reckon that ought to get it Been Working and working But I still got so terribly far to go
I heard the judge say five years On chain-gang you gonna go I heard the judge say five years labor I heard my old man scream "Lordy, no!" Hold it right there while I hit it Well I reckon that ought to get it Been Working and working    But I still got so terribly far to Gonna see my sweet honey bee Gonna break this chain off to run    Gonna lay down somewhere shady Lord I sure am hot in the sun Hold it right there while I hit it Well I reckon that ought to get it Been Workin' and workin' Been Workin' and slavin' An' Workin' and workin' But I still got so terribly far to go
Oscar Brown Jr, Nat Adderley Nina Simone
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