When it comes to the subject of slavery, I have always liked to learn about slaves interacted beyond working. For instance, learning about how slaves created songs and dances has always interested me because they still managed to retain some amount of hope and happiness during immense torture and mistreatment. Instead of giving up, most slaves ended their days by meeting with other slaves and dancing and singing together regardless of language barriers and different cultures.
In the first source which was created by J.P Temple, it is clear that slaves were forced to learn English and abandon their African culture because the title of the song is “Come and Dance To Night”. Instead of tonight, the title includes “to night” which shows that even though slaves could not speak their language or spread their culture, they were still not allowed to be taught English. Instead, slaves had to pick up on what they heard and often poorly articulated English or spelled words incorrectly because of the belief that slaves should not be taught English. This source also emphasizes the tradition which I described earlier where slaves spent their nights gathering together to sing and dance. “Come Dance To Night” invites slaves to stop their work at the tobacco fields and cotton plantations for the day and to dance,”From the cotton plants your hoeing, from the fields where baco’s growing . Come and dance tonight,”. This source directly tells us how slaves bonded together during slavery and embraced each other regardless of their individual cultures, something that Americans should have learned from. This idea is also followed with the second source, a song by Dave Braham and Ed Harrigan.
In the second source, we see the cover of a song created in 1877. In this image, we see two Africans together who appear to be washing some sort of equipment. Additionally, it seems like one of the workers is washing while the other is writing down something which could be the lyrics to the song. Through this image, we see that Africans continued to incorporate songs into their daily lives even after slavery was “abolished” in 1865. The songs that slaves created during their times of hardship inspired thousands of others to do the same and to continue to create songs and sing together during the worst of times.
Through these sources, many research questions that pertain to the culture of slavery could be asked. For instance: “when and why did slaves begin to create songs during slavery?” or “how did the first few groups decide to meet and spread their cultures through song and dance?”.