Did you know that most of the music and oral history created by the enslaved Africans in America between 1619-1865 has already been lost forever? The Library of Congress houses over 6000 fragments of the enslaved African workday & plantation songs we today call African American Spirituals that will never be heard in their entirety. The few stories and songs that we have left are at risk of being lost forever, if we don’t do something about it now.
In historical context, the African American spirituals transcended societies reflections of history in a time period that would not allow the slaves who created the spirituals to have a voice. Therefore the essence and secret intent of the spirituals were hidden in plain view in order to preserve and document the history of the slaves existence in America. We all have the need to feel valued and know that at the very least our collective story will remain for future generations to study. The slaves were no different, they just couldn’t tell their story out right in their lifetime for the world to see. They were depending on each other orally to keep their history alive for future generations. Although we don’t know the individual names of the slaves who created these songs, the spirituals represent one of the deepest most beautiful raw expressions of the human spirit ever created on American soil or the world for that matter.
The oral history of our enslaved ancestors is also at risk of being lost forever. This is a story of courage, love, hope and faith that one day their story would be told. This is American history and it matters. Like the spirituals our enslaved ancestors established traditions to honor their dead, who never had the chance to tell their story. So I’m gonna tell……. Please help me make this go viral. Share, Share, and Share again!