Nov 15, 2014

'And why not every man?'

The moon run down in a purple stream
The sun refuse to shine
Every star did disappear
Yes, freedom shall mine 
Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel
Deliver Daniel
Deliver Daniel
Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel
Deliver Daniel
And why not every man?
Albert J. Raboteau writes on the history of spirituals such as "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?" and the use of religious language among American slaves:
Slave preachers led the meetings of the 'invisible institution' and exercised a good deal of influence among the slaves in general. Although illiterate, their verbal artistry earned the slave preachers the respect of blacks and sometimes whites as well. The slave preachers had to be careful not to mention freedom or equality for black people in this life, but only in Heaven -- at least in the presence of whites. Preachers and their followers developed ingeniously indirect and veiled references to fool any whites who might be listening . . . . The flexible structures of the spirituals allowed the slaves to comment on the daily events of their lives, so that the community heard and shared the cares and burdens of the individual expressed through song.