Go Down Moses: The True Meaning Of Slave Songs

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Upon leaving one place to go to another, slaves would always sing out their sorrows, happiness, and warnings with each other. They would compose and sing as they went along from plantation to plantation and, for some, on their way towards freedom. The thought that came to their mind is the very thought that they would sing aloud. Most of the time these songs told a tale of woe or warned others of what was happening, but on occasions the songs would be of happiness (The True Meaning of Slave Songs). Through analyzing multiple slave songs it is easy to prove that they do, in fact, have much deeper and more meaningful messages than they were thought to have. The spirituals and their lyrics were part of a sophisticated system that involved no…show more content…
The secret codes were hidden in plain view because their lives depended on it, but for those who understood the codes it made it easier to navigate their dangerous journey on the Underground Railroad. However the intention of the song “Go Down Moses” was to be clear that in the Bible, God had condemned slavery and in fact had instructed Moses to lead the children of Israel out of the bondage of slavery. “Go Down Moses” was a way for the slaves to say to their masters, “we know that owning slaves is going against the will of God”, and the slaves wanted their masters to know that they understood this. Once the slave masters heard the song it was strictly forbidden for the slaves to sing it. The masters could see that the song riled up the slaves and made it more difficult for the masters to control the slaves. The slaves may have stopped singing that song in front of their masters but that only made “Go Down Moses” more powerful when they sang it in their secret camp meetings held deep in the woods in the dark of night. The only slave that continued to sing the song openly was Harriet Tubman. Tubman also used slave songs in ways other than to give directions to the slaves towards freedom. For example, if she had to leave a group she was leading north she would tell them to hide and…show more content…
It addresses feelings of loneliness in the life of a slave; it addresses feelings of oppression and the blindness of the oppressor. "Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen’ is a slave’s way of explaining that unless you have been through it you will never understand a slave’s life. “Nobody but Jesus knows” is a way of the slaves empowering themselves through faith in Jesus. According to the song, Jesus knows what they go through when it seems that nobody does. "Sometimes I’m up sometimes I’m down. Oh yes, Lord! Sometimes I’m almost to the ground,” states that life is constantly full of sorrow but the Lord is always there watching. One has to be reminded that the Lord is with them in this life and waiting for them in the next life they will enter, "If you get there before I do, Oh yes, Lord! Tell all my friends I’m coming too." This particular spiritual contains the same themes found in many spirituals. The lyrics describe intense feelings of sorrow but also a certain hope and faith that Jesus is with

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