Blog Post 3- Visual and Text Documents :)


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?”.

One thought on “Blog Post 3- Visual and Text Documents :)

  1. These are excellent historical sources that characterize your theme well! This is a topic that has always interested me, and we need so much more work on this particular area of study. Of the entire enslaved population in the Americas, people came from different communities with distinctive cultures, customs, and languages. From the perspective of enslavers who bought newly arrived enslaved people, this was advantageous because it might prevent communication between slaves and prevent acts of resistance. Of course, we know that this is not true because even though enslaved people came from different communities, they shared a similar experience that brought them together in other ways and still shaped kin-like networks and a sense of community. There was also an amalgamation of different cultural practices that also brought people together.

    I think your choice of studying this theme through a lens of music and song opens new perspectives that would significantly contribute to the history of slavery. There is power, emotion, and bonding that happens in music. Your research questions strongly reflects this potential!

Leave a Reply