mudcat.org: Lyr Add: Death Song (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Add: Death Song (Paul Laurence Dunbar)

katlaughing 04 Nov 00 - 08:12 PM
katlaughing 25 Jul 05 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,Louise 25 Jul 05 - 11:26 PM
Azizi 25 Jul 05 - 11:28 PM
Janie 25 Jul 05 - 11:53 PM
open mike 26 Jul 05 - 12:07 AM
mack/misophist 26 Jul 05 - 12:19 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Jul 05 - 12:57 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jul 05 - 04:38 PM
katlaughing 28 Jul 05 - 01:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jul 05 - 03:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jul 05 - 03:29 PM
Sorcha 28 Jul 05 - 03:40 PM
katlaughing 28 Jul 05 - 05:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jul 05 - 05:46 PM
Kaleea 28 Jul 05 - 09:32 PM
M.Ted 29 Jul 05 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,tom 29 Jul 05 - 09:26 AM
Azizi 29 Jul 05 - 10:27 AM
M.Ted 29 Jul 05 - 12:28 PM
Azizi 29 Jul 05 - 12:39 PM
M.Ted 29 Jul 05 - 02:32 PM
katlaughing 29 Jul 05 - 02:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jul 05 - 03:18 PM
M.Ted 29 Jul 05 - 04:07 PM
Azizi 29 Jul 05 - 05:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jul 05 - 05:20 PM
M.Ted 29 Jul 05 - 05:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jul 05 - 05:50 PM
Azizi 29 Jul 05 - 05:50 PM
Azizi 29 Jul 05 - 05:52 PM
Azizi 05 Aug 05 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,tom 05 Aug 05 - 11:58 AM
katlaughing 05 Aug 05 - 12:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Aug 05 - 01:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Aug 05 - 01:20 PM
Azizi 05 Aug 05 - 01:33 PM
Azizi 05 Aug 05 - 01:35 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: Lyr Add: A DEATH SONG (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Nov 00 - 08:12 PM

BEFORE YOU READ THESE LYRICS:

Please know that I post them as an record of history, not to offend anyone of African-American descent. They come from my grandmother's book, "Howdy, Honey, Howdy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, published by 1905, with absolutely incredible candid photos of great historical significance by Leigh Richmond Miner. It also has beautiful delicate decorations around each page by Will Jenkins.

I checked at a couple of online booksellers and found it listed as very rare and pretty pricey, anywhere from 235-750 dollars for a copy in good condition. I suppose that is partly because Black memorabilia is a hot item at auctions now.

There is a Christmas song I will post, too, if people would like to see it. Thanks,

kat

A DEATH SONG

Lay me down beneaf de willers in de grass,
Whah de branch'll go a-singin' as it pass.
An' w'en I's a-layin' low,
I kin hyeah it as it go
Singin', "Sleep, my honey, tek yo' res' at las'."

Lay me nigh to whah hit meks a little pool, Whah de little birds in spring,
Ust to come an' drink an' sing,
An' de chillen waded on dey way to school.

Let me settle w'en my shouldahs draps dey load
Nigh enough to hyeah de noises in de road;
Fu' I t'ink de las' long res'
Gwine to soothe my sperrit bes'
Ef I's layin' 'mong de t'ings I's allus knowed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Jul 05 - 10:51 PM

refresh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: GUEST,Louise
Date: 25 Jul 05 - 11:26 PM

What a lovely song. Whoever composed it reached across a century of time and a broad gulf of culture and experience to touch my heart. Thanks for posting it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Jul 05 - 11:28 PM

Here is one online resouce that may be of interest to you: Paul Laurence Dunbar's Writing

I have taken the liberty to present two excerpts from that article:

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
Contributing Editors:
Elaine Hedges and Richard Yarborough

Classroom Issues and Strategies

Although Paul Laurence Dunbar also produced novels, short stories, and a large number of poems written in conventional English, he is best known for his adoption in verse of what was presented as the language (or "dialect") of the black southern folk. Indeed, he has been viewed by some commentators as an artist who used negative stereotypes of his own people to satisfy a white audience, and there are still those who suggest that his work lacks substance.

In his lifetime, however, Dunbar was generally considered a glowing symbol of African-American literary artistry and an apt representative of his race, and a close reading of his poetry reveals him to be far more than an unimaginative purveyor of antiblack images. In addition, few modern readers are aware of the essays on American race relations and other contemporaneous issues that Dunbar published at the height of his popularity. It is perhaps no wonder that from shortly after his death through the mid-twentieth century, his name was associated with numerous respected institutions in the African-American community. Practically gone now are the various Paul Laurence Dunbar Literary Societies that flourished throughout the country, but the schools and housing projects bearing his name still exist in many cities.

In order for students to appreciate the enduring literary achievement represented by Dunbar's best work, they should be given some sense of the daunting obstacles arrayed against black authors at that time and, accordingly, of the complex constraints placed upon them by white editors and readers alike. To put it another way, students should be encouraged to consider not just what Dunbar wrote but why he wrote as he did.

Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions

One cannot overemphasize the fact that Dunbar lived during a period when the access allowed blacks to major white publications was extremely limited. Although there were a number of important African-American periodicals in existence as well, for the ambitious black author eager to make his or her mark on the mainstream literary landscape, magazines such as Century and the Atlantic Monthly constituted the height of success. All too often, however, editors of these and similar periodicals expected African-American writers dealing with black material to follow the conventions of what has been termed the Plantation Tradition, which dominated the literary representation of black life and culture in the late nineteenth century. When coupled with the popularity of dialect verse of all kinds at the time, these conventions (perhaps best embodied in the fiction of Joel Chandler Harris and Thomas Nelson Page) exerted tremendous pressure upon aspiring African-American authors. As a result, one should urge students not to search Dunbar's work for outright protest and direct rejection of the dominant racial stereotypes of the day but rather to attend to the subtle use of irony and the often veiled allusions to the dilemmas of race that mark much of his writing.

****


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Janie
Date: 25 Jul 05 - 11:53 PM

Kat and Azizi,

Thank you both very, VERY much.

Kat--I would love to see you post the Christmas song.

Janie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: open mike
Date: 26 Jul 05 - 12:07 AM

interesting that this should show up now
when 2 other threads are discussing
Bury me beneath the willow
and the taker of names..a death song...
great historical piece!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: mack/misophist
Date: 26 Jul 05 - 12:19 AM

They still had segregated schools when I was a boy. One of the 2 black high schools in town was Paul Dunbar High. That may have had something to do with the fact that we whites read him in English class. A lot better than some of the stuff we read. Of course, that was the last year before they castrated the text books by making them more 'relevant'. He wasn't 'relevant' enough.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jul 05 - 12:57 AM

The poem as cited above is incomplete, missing the second line in the second verse.
'An' de watah stan's so quiet lak an' cool, ...'

The poem is on line at Bartleby and other sites.
A Death Song

A number of his poems are here: Dunbar poems


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jul 05 - 04:38 PM

"Howdy, Honey, Honey" is a pricy treasure because of the fine photographs by Miner, who was an instructor at the Hampton Institute. He also illustrated "Southland Melodies," by Ben King (also very scarce) and other books.

A collection of Miner's photographs are available in a very fine quarto art edition, "Face of an Island" (St. Helena, Carolina Coast), by historian Edith Dabbs. The original was published in 1970 (rare book dealers' price about $500), but the 2004 reprint is available for 65 British pounds from Gazelle Book Services, UK.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 01:30 PM

Azizi, thanks for psoting the excerpts and link! Very interesting.

Janie and Louise, you are welcome, thanks!

open mike, those other threads reminded me of this one; that's why I refreshed it.:-)

Q, unless a clone corrected it overnight, I see that link in the second verse. Thanks for the links and info. The last time I looked at ABE online, the prices seem to have gone up since I first posted this thread.

Janie, click here for the lyrics to the Christmas song. Thanks for asking.

Thanks, everyone,

kat

sorry for the duplicate posting..didn't think the first one *took*


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 03:24 PM

Not complete in the thread I have. Second verse, complete five lines:

Lay me nigh to whah hit meks a little pool,
An' de watah stan's so quiet lak an' cool,
Whah de little birds in spring
Ust to come an' drink an' sing,
An' de chillun waded on dey way to school.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 03:29 PM

2nd verse, line 4: chillen, not chillun. My error.

For anyone interested, Dunbar's complete poems are available at reasonable cost in used editions. See Abebooks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 03:40 PM

Very interesting kat!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 05:38 PM

Thanks, Sorcha.

Q, maybe it is the "<" before that second line that keeps it from showing up on your browser? I will remove it. I think I'd posted it before we had automatic line breaks. THIS is what I see when the thread comes up in my browser WITH the "<" removed:

Lay me nigh to whah hit meks a little pool,
An de watah stan's so quiet lak an' cool,
Whah de little birds in spring,
Ust to come an' drink an' sing,
An' de chillen waded on dey way to school.

Near as I can see, that's all five lines.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 05:46 PM

Kat, you are probably right. I get the 1st and 3rd lines printed on one line, then lines 4 and 5, no line 2.
Most confoosin!'
(I have MS XP. I have noticed a few differences from my previous 'Office' which I replaced not too long ago)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Kaleea
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 09:32 PM

Thanks, all, for this remarkable info! I have long shared the opinion that we look with neutral eyes to understand the Historical importance of such songs & other artistic works.
   When I was growing up, my Irish grandparents in Eastern Oklahoma were in that generational position of posessing much knowledge & even language of "the olden days" type songs. All these years later, there have been times when I was reading/singing these such "olden days" songs & a forgotten memory comes to me which helps me to understand the literature better.
   If we do not know from whence we came, how can we appreciate what we now have?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 12:38 AM

People spoke and speak that way--when we miss what someone is saying because we are uncomfortable with the way that they say it, we are guilty of prejudice--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: GUEST,tom
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 09:26 AM

Do people not think that the way these songs are written down hinders the enjoyment we get out of them today? Did Dunbar write them down with all the "dems" and "dats" or was that the way someone wrote them for him ? Loved the poetry all the same .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 10:27 AM

Guest, Tom.

Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote those poems that way. See my link upthread to an article about him.

In another book about Paul Laurence Dunbar [title ???], I read that he very much preferred his poems and writings in standard English to his writings in this dialectic English. But he couldn't make a living with those writings because Black dialect English was preferred by the powers that be then {ie. Whites} because IMO it nurtured their nostalgic stereotypes about African Americans {"darkies longing for their "ole Kentucky home"}. The old faithful "family retainer" was a much more comforting figure to think about than dealing with the reality of Black people as human beings who wanted [and deserved] to be treated as human beings with the same rights as White people.

I also believe that this dialect was the preferred form for White authors/song composers/minstrels etc writing about Black people and for Black people [then]who wrote about themselves because it reinforced {and in my opinion,continues to reinforce} the view that Black people were not [and are not in that view point] as intelligent as White people.

It should be noted that Black dialect English was not how all African Americans of that time -in the South-and elsewhere talked. Yet it became the standard form of talk to designate Black people {see the history of minstrelsy}. I believe this occurred for the reasons that I indicated above.

As to your point about whether "the way these songs are written down hinders the enjoyment we get out of them today": Well, frankly few African Americans I know {and I am AA by the way} get any enjoyment out of these writings because few of us read these writings. In my opinion, few African Americans {or non-African Americans] know about slavery dance songs {or other secular songs composed by Black people during slavery} except for songs that have been "integrated" into the mainstream culture with their racial identity being a deep 'dark' secret {songs like "Gooper Peas" ; "Jim Along Josie", "Skip To My Lou", and "The Blue Tail Fly".

And with regard to African American spirituals [all or most of which were composed by people who spoke some standard-to them-form of non-standard {non-mainstream White} English whether it was as the same Black English that Dunbar used I don't know]...anyway my point was that most of these songs have been re-written in "standard" mainstream English except for the acceptable {to most people Black & non-Black people} word endings such as 'standin' in the need of prayer' instead of "standing".

But the "de"s and "dose" types of languagings have been substituted for 'the' and 'those'. And-contrary to a comment or two that was made on a recent Mudcat thread about African American spirituals-
I have NEVER sung spirtuals using Black dialect-nor have I EVER heard these spirituals sung that way in my entire-long-life...[that being said, I am from the North, and I live in the beginning of the midWest {Western Pennsylvania}. However, in my youth and in my adulthood, I have heard choirs from the South sing sprituals at concerts, and they did not sing these songs with dialect beyond the endings I mentioned and word forms like "this ole ark keeps a-movin"].

And, Tom {not Uncle Tom I'd gather. Sorry I tried but I couldn't resist that 'inside' joke that most 'outside' folks will probably get}, if instead of enjoyment you wondered about if dialect interfers with how easily folks {of what ever race/ethnicity} can comprehend the words in these poems, I would say YES the dialect does very much interfere with comprehension.

All that said, I should give props {proper respect} to those song collectors who preserved secular slave songs and spirituals for us to debate about them today. I am grateful for their work in preserved these songs and believe that we should be aware that they were composed using some form of dialect.

However, do I think they should be taught that way for performances- NO.

Do I think their dialect forms should be included in musicology courses, sociological studies and historical studies- YES.

Of course, these are my strongly held opinions. Others, I am sure, will disagree.

And they of course, have the right to do so.


Thanks for your question, Guest Tom {and please play pass my joke about your name if you are really Guest Tom and not a member just funnin}


Azizi

PS:
For those who aren't hip to it, an "Uncle Tom" [now sometimes shortened to a "tom"} is a Black man who is sickeningly submissive in his actions and words to White people; the female form is
Aunt Jemima-as in the pancake mix-and another referent for both male and female is "hankerchief head"-because of that image of "Negroes" [women, mostly] in the South wearing scarfs on their head] The soruce for the very negative referent "Uncle Tom" is Harriet Beecher Stowe's book "Uncle Tom's Cabin". For a modern day Uncle Tom, IMO and that of many Black people-look on the USA Supreme Court-a tom sits there and usually "never says a mumblin word".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 12:28 PM

You are a nice person, Azziza, but I think you have missed something very important--you say:


It should be noted that Black dialect English was not how all African Americans of that time -in the South-and elsewhere talked. Yet it became the standard form of talk to designate Black people {see the history of minstrelsy}. I believe this occurred for the reasons that I indicated above.

(And here is what was above)

I also believe that this dialect was the preferred form for White authors/song composers/minstrels etc writing about Black people and for Black people [then]who wrote about themselves because it reinforced {and in my opinion,continues to reinforce} the view that Black people were not [and are not in that view point] as intelligent as White people.



The fact of the matter is, this was all entertainment--written and performed to entertain, to get laughs, etc--it was created without any sense of what any deeper implications might be, and certainly without any sense that it was hurtful, in any way--

It is important to understand this, because it is really important to understand that, unbelievable as it seems, the majority of whites in these times had no idea about the suffering of slavery, or the horrible legacy of racism--

In later years, nearly all of the minstrel performers and many of the songwriters were black. So songs like "All Coons Look Alike To Me" were actually written by Blacks--It was all just show biz --there was a larger feeling though, that this undercut all the efforts to bring about social justice, and there was a belief that it undercut the work of serious black writers--

The point is that this stuff wasn't intended as any sort of tool for racial oppression, and it can even be argued that, in a certain way, it created awareness and sympathy--It was intended to entertain, which, as some of us know from experience, people will get a laugh whereever and however they can--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 12:39 PM

M. Ted.

I disagree with your statement that minstrel music was this was "all entertainment--written and performed to entertain, to get laughs, etc--it was created without any sense of what any deeper implications might be, and certainly without any sense that it was hurtful, in any way"

It is an African American tenet that there is no such thing as 'art for arts sake". Like the Deep Throat quote: "Follow the money", one important line of inquiry is how is the art used?

Or let me say it this way if indeed "this stuff wasn't intended as any sort of tool for racial oppression" it became a tool of that oppression. And the stereotypes of Black people that were promoted by Black faced ministrels {be they cork wearing White people or Black people who put cork over their brown skin to make a living in show business} still live on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 02:32 PM

I can see that you are well on the way to completely misunderstanding what I am saying, and certainly have no idea where I am coming from.

I understand that it was the product of a racist system. Furthermore, as an entertainer and a writer, I can show you more of the minstrel legacy in contemporary entertainment than you know about, if you care about that. I am only saying that, for the people who created and performed this stuff, there was no awareness of it's deeper implications. Same goes for the audiences who laughed and sang along.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 02:40 PM

I may be wrong, but it is my impression that those who have been oppressed will generally gear their entertainment towards what is dictated by the market, in this case, by Whites who were the oppressors. I don't believe there was much Freedom of Expression for Black writers or entertainers, back then.

Being "free" in those days still wasn't very pleasant for a lot of people and until the Civil Rights Movement, AA's were still expected to "kow-tow" to the supposed superiority of the Whites. The oppression continues; I know of this first-hand through my Antiguan son-in-law and bi-racial grandsons.

Thanks,

kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 03:18 PM

Azizi, you project the current viewpoint, with observations based in the Northeast. If one looks at the hymnal "Songs of Zion," prepared by "The National Advisory Task Force on the Hymnbook Project" for Black and United Methodist Churches, copyright in 1981, it shows that, as recently as 25 years ago, there was strong support among church leaders for singing the old spirituals in dialect. The black compilers and editors were mostly southern, it is true, but they spoke for a large membership.

Many of the musical arrangements in the hymnal are from the 1930s or earlier, by blacks; prior to WW2, dialect was still strong among both blacks and whites and attitudes that developed after 1950 were not yet prevalent. Dialects were regarded as indicative of inferior education by the educated in the cities, but were never regarded as demeaning, especially in rural areas.

I hold no brief for perpetuation of minstrel traditions, although, as M Ted mplies, it is part of the development of show biz, for both blacks and whites and cannot be disregarded.

The true dialects of the people, however, should never be disparaged; black or white, native or immigrant, they are part of us, our language and our history.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 04:07 PM

As per dialect, back in those wonderful and bizarre 70's, ethnic was "in", and "streettalk" was the new emblem of progressive cultural awareness--an afro, an attitude, and a big floppy hat were signs of hippness and social awareness--turned out that we were all just buying into a whole bunch of updated stereotypes, though--

And now we have Ebonics--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 05:07 PM

Q wrote "as recently as 25 years ago, there was strong support among church leaders for singing the old spirituals in dialect. The black compilers and editors were mostly southern, it is true, but they spoke for a large membership."

The last 25-30 years were very significant for African Americans since the Black cultural nationalist movements began [again] during this time.[See "Marcus Garvey for prior Black cultural nationalist movements..]

You are correct that I speak from a Norteast orientation. But I continue to maintain that most African Americans wouldn't think of singing spirituals in dialect.

Furthermore, I continue to maintain that much of the dialects used by minstrels were exagerrated Black talk and was used to disparage African Americans.

****

M.Ted -What sources can you point me to that verify that the song "All coons look alike to me" was composed by a Black perso?
That song has to rank in the top 10 of those that disparage a race of people.

****

katlaughing:

To use an outdated African American colloguial expression,
"Right on!"

Thank you!


Azizi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 05:20 PM

Ted, I have it in front of me, so I may beat you to the draw.
"All Coons Look Alike to Me," by Ernest Hogan, 1896. A black tunesmith.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 05:26 PM

As per dialect, back in those wonderful and bizarre 70's, ethnic was "in", and "streettalk" was the new emblem of progressive cultural awareness--an afro, an attitude, and a big floppy hat were signs of hippness and social awareness--turned out that we were all just buying into a whole bunch of updated stereotypes, though--

And now we have Ebonics--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 05:50 PM

Coon songs are way off the subject, but the backhand humor in some of these songs can't be missed.
A couple of verses from "The Traveling Coon"

That coon got on the Titanic steamship,
And sailed across the ocean blue.
When he saw that iceberg a-comin',
Right overboard he flew.

The people standin' aroun',
Said that nigger was sure a fool,
But when the Titanic ship went down,
He was shootin' craps in Liverpool.

Origin not known. Collected sometime after 1905. Probably originally from African-American minstrels for a black audience. The above verses from N. I. White. Sometimes connected to "Didn't He Ramble."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 05:50 PM

Q, thanks for the source of that song. With that song and its use by racist individuals and groups, I rest my case about music {art} being used for more than entertainment purposes.

****

M. Ed, as to your comment that "now we have Ebonics", who is "we"?

African American Vernacular English [which some call "Ebonics"] is a subject so complicated that it is worthy of discussion in this thread or a separate thread.

But I have neither the time nor the interest in addressing that subject.

For those who are interested in exchanging comments about the historical African roots and Southern USA roots of AAVE, and the validity and use of that language, I say "More power to you. Do you thing."



Azizi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 05:52 PM

When I wrote "Q, thanks for the source of that song"
I was referring to the song "All Coons Look Alike To Me".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 11:10 AM

In surfing the Internet looking for information unrelated to this thread, I found an ebook for
Book On American Negro Poetry edited by James Weldon Johnson.

This website has a caption that reads:

"This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net"

-snip-

Here's an excerpt from that website on poet & essayist, Paul Laurence Dunbar:

"Indeed, Dunbar did not begin his career as a writer of dialect. I may be pardoned for introducing here a bit of reminiscence. My personal friendship with Paul Dunbar began before he had achieved recognition, and continued to be close until his death. When I first met him he had published a thin volume, "Oak and Ivy," which was being sold chiefly through his own efforts. "Oak and Ivy" showed no distinctive Negro influence, but rather the influence of James Whitcomb Riley. At this time Paul and I were together every day for several months. He talked to me a great deal about his hopes and ambitions. In these talks he revealed that he had reached a realization of the possibilities of poetry in the dialect, together with a recognition of the fact that it offered the surest way by which he could get a hearing. Often he said to me: "I've got to write dialect poetry; it's the only way I can get them to listen
to me." I was with Dunbar at the beginning of what proved to be his last illness. He said to me then: "I have not grown. I am writing the same things I wrote ten years ago, and am writing them no better." His self-accusation was not fully true; he had grown, and he had gained a surer control of his art, but he had not accomplished the greater things of which he was constantly dreaming; the public had held him to the things for which it had accorded him recognition. If Dunbar had lived he would have achieved some of those dreams, but even while he talked so dejectedly to me he seemed to feel that he was not to live. He died when he was only thirty-three."

-snip-

I didn't know that Paul Laurence Dunbar was only 33 years old when he died. How sad!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: GUEST,tom
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 11:58 AM

Azizi ,somebody told me that there was an African- American university set up in the South a short time before Dunbar was writing which was seen as a threat by the white establishment and shut down. Do you know anything about this?
The dialect writing seems to me to reflect a certain reticence amongst black Americans in aspiring to more elevated forms of writing as a result of disappointment with their post-bellum status.
By the way I live in Ireland where the name Tom doesn't have the same connotations . We have a word, Seanin -little Sean-which roughly corresponds .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 12:38 PM

Thank you, Azizi, for that. It is really sad to know he died so young and felt such unrest about his talent and efforts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 01:19 PM

Azizi, your comments on the black colleges would be interesting.

The story of the black colleges is one that should be made known. Some date back to the time of emancipation. Some are church-supported, but many are state institutions founded to offer instruction to black students; 'separate but equal' opportunities. The last few decades have seen a change in emphasis including admission of white students. Many now offer good programs which include research levels, equal to that of many liberal arts universities.
The idea of black colleges is under attack by some blacks while others defend them.

This Fisk University website lists historically black colleges and universities. Some are as far north as Michigan and as far west as California, but the best known are southern. It does not give the history of these institutions.
Black Colleges

I could not find a good, unbiased website on the history and development of these schools, although there are books available.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 01:20 PM

I would recommend a separate thread for discussion of these schools.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 01:33 PM

Guest Tom,

"Thomas" and its nickname, "Tom" have long been relatively common personal names for Americans [including African Americans]. Because it is [or has been] such a common name, "Tom" isn't always considered as having that "Uncle Tom" negative connotation.

It's been my understanding that "Thomas" is Greek and means "a twin" while "Sean" is an Irish form of the Hebrew name "John" [Yehokhanan}which means "God is gracious. or "gracious gift of God"

Does "Tom" and "Seanin" mean the same thing in Iceland?

BTW, I'd love to learn more about the naming practices, music and other customs of Iceland. I think that would make a great thread.

****

Tom, I don't know which African American school of higher learning you might be referring to, but see this excerpt for information about the history of Historical Black Colleges:

"There are more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities in the United States today. These institutions of higher learning, whose principal mission is to educate African Americans, have evolved since their beginning in 1837 when their primary responsibility was to educate freed slaves to read and write. At the dawn of the 21st century, along with graduate and post-graduate degrees, historically Black colleges and universities offer African American students a place to earn a sense of identity, heritage and community.

Segregation Era
Before the Civil War (1861-1865) the majority of Blacks in the United States were enslaved. Although a few free Blacks attended primarily White colleges in the North in the years before the war, such opportunities were very rare and nonexistent in the slave states of the South. In response to the lack of opportunity, a few institutions of secondary and higher education for Blacks were organized in the antebellum years. Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, founded in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth, has the earliest founding date of an HBCU, although for most of its early history it offered only elementary and high school level instruction. The first great expansion in Black higher education came after the war, however, during the widening opportunities of Reconstruction (1865-1877).

Private Institutions
The years between the Civil War and World War I (1914-1918) were an era of tremendous growth for American colleges and universities. Higher education spread primarily through institutions financed by public taxes, particularly the rapidly expanding land-grant colleges established by U.S. Congress in the Morrill Act of 1862. These land-grant institutions, coupled with a growing system of state colleges, marked the emergence of a distinctive style of American higher education: publicly supported institutions of higher learning serving a broad range of students as well as the cultural, economic, and political interests of various local and state constituencies."

-snip-

MORE HERE

****

Thanks for the question.

Positive vibrations,

Azizi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death Song - from rare African-Amer
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 01:35 PM

For the record, I posted my response to Tom's question before I saw Q's comments.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 January 11:07 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.