African American Slave Music

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Beginning in the seventeenth century, the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia to aid in the production of profitable crops is where a soon to be flourishing slave trade witnesses Africans being snatched and carried to America in bondage, separating them from their families, leaving them with no sense of familiarity. Although, unfortunate, out of this state of anguish and distress came the development of a new culture. Vast generations of Africans turned African-Americans over time advanced as a rich culture infused with music. African Americans were viewed as inferior and unequal for centuries as White Americans went through great bounds to keep blacks separated from their world. Despite the …show more content…
The life of a slave was an unpleasant one. Slave owners in the United States sought out to completely dominate and control their slaves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Slaves frequently turned to song as a vice to counter the dehumanization. The importance of music and song was overlooked by slave and plantation owners. Singing was a tradition invoked in slaves, which were often referred to as spirituals, since they tended to reference the bible. Slave music could be heard throughout the majority of a slave’s day serving for many purposes. The use of song and music while tending to an activity in the fields assisted in the slaves staying synchronized during repetitive tasks, motivation to continue on, as well acting as a boost in morale and spirits of the people to ease the burden of labor. Singing was also used as a way to express slave values during an event or celebration, a tool to remember their history, as well as a way to communicate seeing as many slaves could not read or write. Slaves also used song as a way to announce to others as they continued to struggle to attain their freedom from …show more content…
Due to this revelation, blues music flowed out of bluesmen and blues-women as a way to vent the disappointments and disillusionment of African Americans. Blues music related to both spirituals and work songs in its musical form and rapidly became popular during the nineteen-teens and twenties. The music also chronicled many blues singers’ personal issues with racial problems/discrimination associated with being black in the prejudiced and segregated South. Vocals dripping with melancholia were the black community’s spokesmen and spokeswomen for expressing social and political issues. Artists such as Billie Holiday who sings an influential blues protest song entitled “Strange Fruit” which was written by a Jewish poet that Holiday popularized with her captivating voice. “Southern trees bear a strange fruit…strange fruit hangs from poplar trees.” The strange fruit hanging from the trees allude to the people that hang from them. The message behind the song was targeting racist lynching while memorializing the dark realities of racial violence in the United

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