Music and the Underground Railroad: the Hand Drum

Underground Railroad


African American communities used music and song, sometimes in place of written communication, to discuss life, death, spiritual philosophies, and emotions: all of which helped individuals cope with the traumas that came with being enslaved. In this video, musician Bruce Barnes sings "Brotherly John is Gone" while playing an African hand drum to illustrate one way song was used for self expression.


4 minutes, 43 seconds


NPS Video

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