Slaves Songs and Freedom

It may seem trite and naïve to suggest we can use the codes that slaves used in their Gospel songs to truly communicate. Unfortunately these black Americans now believe the Gospels they used to make their masters think they were happy and going along with the slave driver. It may seem paranoid to suggest we are still slaves even if we have lots of goodies or three cars in the garage. The truth of our world civilization is not very civilized. The wars and borders that keep us fighting or seeking to be chosen above 'others' in some racist ideology that includes frequent genocides is real. All religions are obviously not trying to let people know that whatever God might be it does not vary from one place to another and all life is part of it. They must start saying they all worship the same thing and tell their followers no one is better than anyone else.

This truth does not need the UN investigation of the Rwanda events or what is going on in Ireland and Darfur or Iraq to let us know the culprits include the US (NWO), Catholic Church and their Anglican 'brothers'. This truth of Synarchy that sees nations spying and warring on each other rather than allowing average people a chance to share in the technological opportunities of gene-therapeutic longevity, nanotechnological replacement of work, space colonization, and a host of ways to make everyone wealthy without taking money away from anyone; is not known to the average person. The 'politicos' sling mud as two of the same club run for the office of US President while both are dedicated militarists who promise to protect the rights of the few against the rest of the world. These 'fronts' for World Financial interests that have a long history of wanting power rather than productive means to share and build without destroying nature need a thorough examination. But people are confused and the media is managed by the same people who bought the media to get the Fed (a private company of rogues) in power with no ability for the people to elect new leaders. How can we sing a new tune? Could we at least get our slave drivers (Politicos and media) to treat us with a little more respect and honesty? Please consider the ingenuity demonstrated by the black slaves of America and how we might start creating community and harmony rather than war and hatred. This excerpt from a book called Slavery and the Making of America deserves special attention I think.

"The relationship between a slave driver and the other slaves generally depended on the extent to which he was willing or able to circumvent his master's wishes. A slave driver could also use his position to the detriment of the slaves, but he did so at his own peril. Although slaves had little power, they might exercise what collective power they had to punish a driver whom they thought was unfair. A notoriously brutal or unjust driver could find himself censured by his fellow slaves {Today the truth tellers among us are facing censure it seems. Patriot Act II is not the only problem.} who refused to associate with him or even to talk to him. Other slaves might spread rumors about a driver's competence or his honesty to the master's house, undermining his authority; or he might have a work-related accident. The driver's position forced him to balance retaining the master's trust with having the respect and cooperation of his fellow slaves. (11)

Clearly, the slaves' world was much more complicated than most slaveholders understood. The slave community supported its members as they dealt with the institution of slavery and the human relationships within it. {In this way it was an extended family with children being cared for by all and a real strength existed that the masters did not have as they competed against each other or screwed the slaves to satisfy indecent needs while neglecting their wife and family.} Under the power of the planters, slaves had to depend on ingenuity, imagination, and the creative use of information. They also used whites' racial stereotypes to their advantage whenever possible. Since slaveholders generally assumed that slaves' singing connoted contentment and passivity, the slaves used music to pass along messages, to control the pace of work, to placate a suspicious master, or to subtly comment on a person or a situation for the benefit or amusement of fellow slaves. When slaves sang 'patter-roll round me. Thank God he no ketch me,' most slaves understood the humorous message. Slaves referred to the slave patrols, generally made up of poor white men who did not own slaves, as 'patter rollers'.

This song was the story of slaves who eluded the patrol by cunning and guile. A song urging slaves to 'Steal away to Jesus' could alert listeners to an upcoming secret meeting, while 'Swing low sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home,' might tell of the possibility of rescue from bondage. Other songs about seeking freedom announced 'people get ready, there's a train a comin',' or told of the 'dark and thorny' pathway 'beyond this vale of sorrow' leading to 'de fields of endless days.' Old Testament stories of deliverance from bondage and the triumph of good over powerful evil often provided the themes for slave songs. The walls of Jericho that Joshua destroyed became a surrogate for the bonds of slavery. The message was subtle, but the words, musical inflection, pitch, and tone told the story of the slave's suffering and determination to be free." (12 & 13)

Author of Diverse Druids
Columnist for The ES Press Magazine
Guest 'expert' for

In The News:

Bill Barr 'Gets' Religion  The Wall Street Journal
My family's religion  Duke Chronicle
For a Lot of American Teens, Religion Is a Regular Part of the Public School Day  Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life Project
Religion in the Public Schools | Pew Research Center  Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life Project
Albania gets religion
The object of religion  Economic Times
Liberty and religion are drifting apart  Catholic Herald Online
Is religious life easy?  Global Sisters Report
Religion digest - Oct. 23
The Religion of Climatism  Commentary Magazine

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