Skip to main content

Go Down Moses - Negro Spirituals Stories.

In this post, we discuss one of the most popular negro spirituals, "Go Down Moses" or as others call it "Let My People Go.

To be very honest it would be better to call negro spirituals, slave songs as they were actually composed by slaves and reflect their situation at that time and their hope that somehow God was going to intervene to free them from slavery. One of those slave songs or negro spirituals is this spiritual, Go Down Moses.

The power and source of most of the negro spirituals come from the Exodus experience of the children of Israel in the Bible. As we all know the Jews were once slaves in Egypt. But with God's help, the Jews gained their freedom. The God of Abraham parted the Red Sea for the Jews to cross and they traveled safely from Egypt to the land of Canaan. A land flowing with milk and honey.

The African slaves identified with the Jews and longed for their own freedom. They thought, "If God could do that for the Jews, God can do that for us too!"

Go Down Moses is one of those songs. Most of the negro spirituals used coded messages to hide the message from their white slave masters. Israel in the songs refers to African slaves in the South of America (USA). The "pharaoh" and "Egypt" refer to the slave masters and the land of slavery, in this case, America.

The name Moses in the song actually refers to Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was called "Moses" for her work with the Underground Railroad. The repeated refrain of the song declares, "Let My People Go!" How the white master could hear these words and think they only referred to some long-dead Egyptian Pharaoh is hard to understand. The powerful song, however, is a reminder that God is always opposed to the enslavement and oppression of people. 
Let My People Cover of Sheet Music  1862

Below are lyrics of one version of this song:-

When Israel was in Egypt's land: Let my people go,
Oppress'd so hard they could not stand, Let my People go.
Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt's land,
Tell old Pharaoh,
Let my people go.

In the video below, Louis Armstrong sings this beautiful song, Go Down Moses.



You might also be interested in the following related posts:

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord Hymn Story and Lyrics

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul Hymn

Story Behind Heaven Came Down  Heaven Came Down is a hymn that is of recent origin as it was written in 1961 by John W Peterson. It draws its inspiration from a testimony delivered by an old man named Jim at Montrose Bible Conference Grounds, Pennsylvania. During the testimony talked of his conversion experience. In the testimony he used the phrase, "It seemed like Heaven came down and glory filled my soul." It is this phrase that inspired John W Pearson to write a song using this phrase later that week.  John W Peterson wrote over a thousand hymns but it is this song that has touched and continues to touch millions of Christians all over the world. He died on September 20, 2006, at the age of 84 after suffering from prostate cancer. It is so sweet to entrust and surrender our lives to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven does literally come down into our hearts when we do that. John W Peterson Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul

Popular and Old Hymns Lyrics and History

This blog exists to share the history and lyrics of popular hymns and old hymns that people have come to love over the years. It is only when you go behind what led to the authors writing these songs that you start to appreciate the message of these songs. While preaching is still the most effective way of spreading the gospel, Christian music has helped in "seasoning"  the presentation of the gospel. It has in some cases even led people to Christ on its own. I hope that this blog will through the stories behind these old and popular hymns help us to draw closer to Christ. As we see the experience of these writers we will appreciate more these hymns. I am a believer in simple and not complicated Christian music. I prefer music that focuses on the message rather than the instruments used. I am not a fan of drowning the voice in the noise of the instruments. I want the people to hear the message of the songs. Christian music for me is not about entertainment b

On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand (My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less) Lyrics and Story

My Hope Is Built On Nothing Else / On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand History My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less or On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand is the best-known hymn of Edward Mote who wrote it in 1834. The original title of this hymn was, "The Immutable Basis for a Sinner's Hope". Edward Mote was the pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Horsham West Sussex in the United Kingdom. It looks as if the inspiration for this hymn came from Christ parable of the wise and foolish builders. In the parable, Christ speaks of the foolish builder who built his house on sinking sand while the wise builder built his on solid rock. As you would imagine a storm easily swept away the one built on sand. Edward Mote - On Christ the Solid Rock Christ is the solid rock upon which we can build our house of faith. Any other foundation is like one on sand and will ultimately fail. On the authorship of this song Mr. Mote's explanation, communicated to the Gospel Herald, is