We’re still in Louisville, so I thought I’d do a Kentucky-themed folk song (and the state song), “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Frederick Douglass once said the song awakened “the sympathies for the slave, in which anti-slavery principles take root and flourish.” It’s striking that in 1852 a song that rather mildly suggests that the lives of slaves were hard was radical enough to make the great abolitionist Douglass rejoice. Compare this to a runaway slave notice from the late 18th century, where identifying scars from whips and the detail that a fourteen-year-old girl had an iron collar on her neck were matter-of-fact markers to recover “property.” The phrase “banality of evil” comes to mind.
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Folk songs are “of the people” and reflect our values and desires, and the changes reflect those values, too.
h/t: Deputy Headmistress for the Thomas Kidd article.