American Patriotic Songs Part II

American Patriotic Songs Part II:

In 1961 as a boy of nine years old, I was brought from Kingston Jamaica to Los Angeles California. I remember those first years in school from grades 3rd to 6th: learning to read and write, struggling with my Jamaican accent, and trying to catch up and fit in the American way. I was a white boy, and the only prejudice that I knew was a small degree coming from the Jamaican blacks who were the majority. In Los Angeles I discovered a new and violent kind of racial prejudice and discrimination as a cultural divide. In grammar school we were being taught about the Civil War of Abraham Lincoln’s time, and all about slavery and the emancipation of the blacks or colored folks. My first required memory lessons outside of learning to read, write, and math, was to know and say: “I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The next required memorization was the President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of 1863:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

But it was another document of Abraham Lincoln in 1863 that we were being told about that was even more important for us to know and understand and remember.
The Proclamation of Emancipation. January 1, 1863 by the President of the United States of America:

” Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
“That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.”
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.”

So it is fitting to share some of those songs that came out of that slavery and its end of those Americans who were not yet free and equal to the other Americans: (One last remark in this regard, the songs of the native American Indians and certain immigrants are not to be forgotten. The American Indians were almost completely exterminated. The Civil War paid in blood for the a slavery doctrine that should have been resolved by the Constitution of the Founding Fathers a hundred years earlier; but 600,000 plus lives of Americans, along with countless others maimed, wounded, and driven insane, with countless families destroyed, to resolve the wrong and the doctrine.)
The Emancipation Spirituals were such songs:
“During the Civil War many runaway slaves, then known as “contrabands,” sought refuge in Washington, D.C. President Lincoln frequently visited contraband camps, often stopping on his way to the Summer White House. On one documented occasion of a meeting at the contraband camp on Seventh Street in 1863, the meeting opened with a prayer followed by all singing, “America.” For an hour the group, including Lincoln, sang spirituals such as “The Song of the Contrabands” – “Go Down Moses.” The president wiped tears from his eyes at the singing of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” When they sang “Free at Last” Lincoln bowed his head. Lincoln’s friend and an employee at the White House, Aunt Mary Dines, remembered that the president, although sometimes choked with emotion, sang along with the group. When he came to the camp, he was not the President. He was just like them. He stood and sang and prayed as they did.”
“Free At Last (Anon): This was a bold song of “deliverance” for the slaves. The bold word “free” is couched in the symbolism of the Bible.”
“Go Down Moses (Anon): This song was a favorite among black troops during the Civil War. It was known as “The Song of the Contrabands.”
“Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen (Anon): This is one of the most moving of the spirituals of the mid-nineteenth century.”
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Anon): “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was one of the first spirituals universally sung by Afro-Americans and was undoubtedly one of the most popular spirituals during Foster’s time.

1. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”
(chorus)
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
1
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home
(chorus)
2
If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I’m coming, too
Coming for to carry me home
(chorus)
3
I’m sometimes up and sometimes down
Coming for to carry me home
But still my soul feels heavenly bound
Coming for to carry me home
(chorus)
4
The brightest day that I can say
Coming for to carry me home
When Jesus washed my sins away
Coming for to carry me home
(chorus)
5
If I get there before you do
Coming for to carry me home
I’ll cut a hole and pull you through
Coming for to carry me home
(chorus)

 

2. “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah

Sometimes I’m up
Sometimes I’m down
Oh, yes, Lord
Sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, yes, Lord

 

3. “Go Down Moses”
1
Go down Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell all pharaoes to
Let My people go!
2
When Israel was in Egypt land
Let My people go!
Oppressed so hard they could not stand
Let My people go!
3
So the God said: go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell all pharaoes to
Let My people go!
So Moses went to Egypt land
Let My people go!
4
He made all pharaoes understand
Let My people go!
Yes the Lord said: go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell all pharaoes to
Let My people go!
5
Thus spoke the Lord, bold Moses said:
-let My people go!
if not I’ll smite, your firstborn’s dead
-let My people go!
6
God-the Lord said : go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell all pharaoes to
Let My people go!
7
Tell all pharaoes
To let My people go

 

4. “Kum Bay Yah, My Lord, Kum Bay Yah” (Sung with many variant or alternative words or lines in many versions) (1920 ?)

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone’s laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone’s crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s crying, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone’s praying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s praying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s praying, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone’s singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s singing, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

((Alternatives: Hear me crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;…Hear me singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;…Hear me praying, my Lord, kum bay ya;…Oh, I need you, my Lord, kum bay ya;…. Someone need you, Lord, come by here….Now I need you, Lord, come by here….In the mornin’ see, Lord, come by here,…I gon’ need you, Lord, come by here,….Oh, Sinners need you, Lord, come by here….Come by here, my Lord, come by here,….In the morning – morning, won’t you come by here Mornin’ – morning, won’t you come by here,…. For the sun, that rises in the sky For the rhythm of the falling rain For all life, great or small For all that’s true, for all you do….For the second on this world you made, For the love that will never fade, For a heart beating with joy, For all that’s real, for all we feel…..))

 

5. “Cherokee Nation Trail of Tears” “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)”
by John D. Loudermilk 1958. (“When he was asked by the Viva! NashVegas radio show about the origins of the Raider’s hit song “Indian Reservation”, Loudermilk told that he wrote the song after his car was snowed in by a blizzard and being taken in by Cherokee Indians. He claimed that the chief “Bloody Bear Tooth” asked him to make a song about his people’s plight and the Trail of Tears. Loudermilk, after being awarded the first medal of the Cherokee nation for this, was asked to read an old ledger book kept during The Trail of Tears. As he read through the names, he discovered his great grandparents, at the age of 91, were marched 1,600 miles (2,600 km) during the plight.”) (At the time I became a Christian to follow Christ, my best friend was a Yaqui Indian, he had introduced me to heroin, Bob Dylan music, and Indian sufferings. But the most influence on my soul towards the Native American Indians started with the movie “Hombre” in 1967 while I was in the Jewish Foster Home. So often when I heard “Running Bear Loved Little White Dove” over the radio over the years I often thought that it was my experience identified in theirs. )

They took the whole Cherokee nation
Put us on this reservation
Took away our ways of life
The tomahawk and the bow and knife
Took away our native tongue
And taught their English to our young
And all the beads we made by hand
Are nowadays made in Japan

Cherokee people, Cherokee tribe
So proud to live, so proud to die
They took the whole Indian nation
Locked us on this reservation

Though I wear a shirt and tie
I’m still part redman deep inside
Cherokee people, Cherokee tribe
So proud to live, so proud to die
But maybe someday when they learn
Cherokee nation will return, will return, will return
Will return, will return

 

About mjmselim

Male, 64, born in Jamaica, USA since 1961; cobbler for 40 years, Christian since 1969; married to same wife since 1979; 6 daughters and 2 sons, with 7 grandkids. Slowly adapting to the digital world of computers and internet; hobby in digital editing.
This entry was posted in Christian Poetry, Psalms Hymns Spiritual Songs, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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