"Sometimes ns Feel like a Motherless Child," an initial came to broad public prominence once it was performed by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870s.

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v genius and also grace, African-American slaves revolutionized bitter person experience into a beautiful art form called the "spiritual." one of the most haunting African-American spirituals, “Sometimes ns Feel favor a Motherless Child,” was most likely borne out of heart-wrenching tragedy: the forcible separation of parent from child.

As Harriet Jacobs, one escaped slave, wrote: “On one of those sale days, I observed a mom lead seven children to the auction block. She knew that some of them would certainly be taken from her; yet they take it all. The children were offered to a slave-trader, and also their mom was bought by a guy in her own town. Prior to night her youngsters were all much away. She begged the trader to phone call her whereby he to plan to take them; this he refused to do.”

—from The classic Slave Narratives, edited through Henry luigi Gates, Jr.

"Sometimes ns Feel like a Motherless Child," very first came to vast public prominence once it to be performed by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870s. Audiences heard it and could no forget it. It has due to the fact that been performed and also recorded by countless singers and instrumentalists, from countless different genres.


The thousands of recognized spirituals, composed by unknown poets and also musicians, and also passed under by dental tradition, evoke a full variety of emotion and circumstance: protest in ~ bondage (“Go Down, Moses,”) escape to liberty (“Wade in the Water,”) hope for salvation and also a life in heaven (Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,”) the wisdom of recognize inner tranquility (“There is a enjoyment in Gilead.”)

And spirituals favor "Motherless Child" express sorrow. The somber melody, the gradually processing, young chords, convey a noble bleakness and mourning.

Why is “Motherless Child” so powerful? Perhaps since the music and words acknowledge utter pain. And this truthful acknowledgment can help us transcend suffering.

Listen to derekwadsworth.com 90.1 on Saturday, January 19, from 6 to be to noon: because that Saturday classic Coffeehouse through Debra Lew Harder. The display will encompass some beautiful African-American spirituals in honor of the storage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“Sometimes ns feel favor a motherless child,

Sometimes ns feel prefer a motherless child,

Sometimes ns feel favor a motherless child,

A long way from home.

True believer!

A long way from home,

A long way from home.”


Arts DeskspiritualsMotherless ChildFisk Jubilee Singers

Debra Lew harder
Debra Lew more difficult is organize of Midday Classics and creator, producer and host that Saturday Morning timeless Coffeehouse ~ above derekwadsworth.com 90.1. Through her lifelong experience as a concert pianist and communicator, she bring a deep expertise of music to the airwaves. And also with doctorates in both medicine and also music, Debra to trust in the strength of music to heal.
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