A Slave, A Plantation, A War: Pre-Visit
Will describe the possible experiences of a slave, a plantation owner, and a war general through a look at the songs of the period.
Will explain two hidden meanings in the songs.
Will compare songs of the Civil War era to a song of today, and explain how the words reflect the culture.
Involvment of the Learners:
Example: Will Smith - Just The Two of Us
Transition to Explanation:
Students will need to identify whether the song would have been sung by a soldier, a slave, or a plantation owner. After the student pairs identify who would have sung this song, they must explain why the song reflects the lifestyle of the person they chose.
Upon completing these questions, students will need to look for hidden meanings in the song. Students may pick one verse of the song and summarize what story the verse is telling.
Students will share their songs with the class and explain their interpretation of the song. What does this song say about the events of the Civil War time period?
One Slave's PerspectiveWe raise de wheat
Dey gib us de corn
We bake de bread
Dey gib us de cruss
We sif de meal
Dey gib us de huss
We peal de meat
Dey gib us de skin
And dat's de way
Dey takes us in
Frederick Douglass recorded this song indicative the the slave's sense of planter's oppression.
What image does Douglass give the reader of slavery?
Is slave life portrayed in a positive or negative light from this passage?
Do you believe that all slaves felt this way about their circumstance in life?
One Southern PerspectiveSecession is our watchword,
Our rights we will demand;
To defend our homes and firesides
We pledge our hearts and hand.
Jeff Davis is our President,
With Stephen by our side;
Brave Beauregard, our General,
Will join in our ride.
Our wagon is the very best,
Wait for the Wagon was a popular song written by R.P. Buckley in the 1850s. A Southern Parody of this song became popular during the Civil War.
What does the word secession mean in these lyrics?
Why might the lyrics refer to cotton and Southern wood?
What is the opinion of the writer and singers of the words above? Do you believe that most southerners felt this way?
Do the lyrics refer more to the issue of slavery or of states' rights?A WAR
One Union PerspectiveWe're fighting for our Union, we're fighting for our trust,
We're fighting for that happy land where sleeps our Father's dust
It cannot be dissever'd, tho' it cost us bloody wars.
We can never give up the land where float the Stripes and Stars.
We do not want your cotton, we care not for your slaves,
The Bonnie Blue Flag, written by Harry Macarthy, became one of the most popular songs in the south during the Civil War. The success of the song in the South drew Col. J.L. Geddes to write a parody of this song, entitled "The Bonnie Blug Flag with Stripes and Stars."
What are the reasons for fighting the Civil War according to the lyrics of this song?
What is the opinion of this writer or singer of the south?
Do you believe that all northerner felt this way about slavery?
Pass out a copy of the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd."
Follow the Drinkin' Gourd
What the lyrics could have meant:
Did You Know?
Richard Eppes, owner of Appomattox Plantation, which is currently part of the Grant's HQ Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield, noted that it took 8,320 pounds of bacon each year to feed his 127 enslaved people in 1860.