In a journal entry of 250 words or more, provide an analysis of a spiritual. Spirituals were songs that slaves often sang out while working out in the fields. On the surface, these songs reflected Christian stories and teachings. However, the songs were also used as a coded means of communication, allowing slaves to express their sorrow or pass along information to fellow slaves attempting to escape to freedom. For obvious reasons, slaves could not openly speak of their pain or their anger against slave owners. However, if they sang about biblical stories that had similar themes–slavery, heartbreak, the desire for freedom–it was a safer means of expressing these emotions. For more information on these spirituals, consult these links:
Once you have selected one, focus your journal entry on what you think the coded meaning of the spiritual might be. What specific language in the spiritual do you think might have a double meaning? What emotions does the spiritual express that a slave might not be free to express openly?
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