The Time Of Captivity During The 19th Century

1931 WordsMay 10, 20178 Pages
In early America slaves hired by rich white folk did any and all labor. Whether it was plantation work or boat work these slaves were not only working as hard as they could but they were also singing. Whether it was singing to keep the group together, singing to stay positive, or singing for communication there was never a silent moment during work hours. Work songs have traveled through cultures and time for so long that they still exist today in a way that you may not even realize. Work songs first developed in the 18th century in Africa during the Time of Captivity. The Time of Captivity was when white boat owners and slave traders would sail over to Africa and capture natives who would later be sold into the slave trade. They would…show more content…
Albert S. Cook Library research database defines work song as “any song that belongs to either of two broad categories: Songs used as a rhythmic accompaniment to a task and songs that make a statement about work.” (Encyclopædia Britannica 2014) The regular steady rhythm of the work song helped the majority of the workers stay together and relieve their boredom while also making the task at hand a little more fun. Work songs sung in the field were commonly about religious praises, return to home, and a hopeful future based around freedom from slavery. Other times work songs were about mocking their fields’ overseers or expressing frustrations about the physical pains of working. A common work song form was call and response. An unofficial leader would sing a line or two, followed by a response from the rest of the workers. They would respond with either the same line sang by the leader, or a different line repeated after every line the leader sang, almost like a refrain. Work songs were rarely written down but one work song that demonstrates one of these common themes and forms is “My Southern Home” which was found in William Wells Brown 's memoir. My Southern Home “All them pretty gals will be there, Shuck that corn before you eat; They will fix it for us rare, Shuck that corn before you eat. I know that supper will be big, Shuck that corn before you eat; I think I smell a fine roast pig, Shuck that corn before you eat” During the time of slavery, the
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