Negro Spirituals: Express Yourself

Expression Through

Throughout slavery, singing was the way slaves could express themselves and their emotions. It was also the way they communicated escapes. Negro spirituals were also the African Americans form of religious music during the time of slavery. Much like folk, negro spirituals used call and response techniques.

Famous Negro Spiritual Songs

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Swing Low Sweet Chariot was used as a communication method for the slaves. Like most Negro Spirituals it was used the convey a secret message. This spiritual in particular was how the slaves communicated their urgency to get home. It didn’t exactly say what home was but it could mean Africa, heaven, or up north.

Wade in the Water

Wade in the Water is one the most famous Negro Spirituals. It is said that Harriet Tubman would sing this song to the slaves in order to tell them to get in the water to hide the their smell from the masters dogs. 

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