Go down, Moses

Go down, Moses (‘Let my people go’). African American spiritual*, 19th century This song of liberty is of unknown date, but certainly existed before December 1861, when it was published in sheet music form as ‘The Song of the Contrabands’, ‘O Let my people Go’, with words and music written down by a chaplain to the escaped slaves, the Revd L.C. Lockwood, and arranged by Thomas Baker. The ‘Contrabands’ were given that name because they were ‘contraband of war’. They were ‘the fugitive slaves who fled by the thousands to the Union army lines, were settled in contraband camps, and placed under the supervision of federal forces’ (Southern, 1983, p. 206). Lockwood would have been one of those...

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