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Lighter Origins: history of Down by the Riverside (64* d) RE: Origins: history of Down by the Riverside 20 May 21


Macon [Ga.] Daily Telegraph (Nov. 18, 1917), p. 7:

"Jubilee by chorus: 'Going to Shout All Over God's Heaven.'
"'Ain't Go [sic] Study War No More.'"


Kansas City Sun (Kansas City, Mo.) (March 16, 1918), p. 9:

"Songs that were originated back in the days of slavery...that have been sung so often, such songs as 'I ain't going to study war no more,' 'I've done what you told me to do,' 'Free at last,' 'Inching along,' 'All my sins are taken away,' 'I couldn't hear nobody pray,' 'It's me, it's me, O Lord,' 'My good Lord's done been here,' 'Swing low, sweet chariot,' and...others too numerous to mention."

The Miami Herald (Feb. 9, 1919), p. 4:

"Folk songs... Ain't Going to Study War No More."


The Independent (Elizabeth City, N.C.) (Nov. 7, 1919), p. 4:

"If you love music, go some morning to the State Normal School for Colored People at Elizabeth City and hear the three hundred or more students of that body sing. You will come away a better man or woman for that experience.

"Without a musical teacher, without a musical director, with only a young girl to lead the singing, these Negro boys and girls me music that would thrill an audience of music critics in any country on earth....

"One melody those Negroes sing should be the song of all humanity. They call it 'Down by the Riverside.' And it starts off like this:-

         "I'll lay down my sword,
         I'll lay down my shield,
         Down by the riverside,
         Down by the riverside.
         And study war no more."


It seems likely (well, plausible) that the song existed during or just after the Civil War - but these are the earliest passing mentions of it.


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