MOTHERLESS CHILD

MOTHERLESS CHILD

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from home my home
A long way from my home
You believe it, believe it, believe it
From home (from home)
My home (from home)
A long way from my home
Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone
Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone
Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone
A long way from home, my home
A long way from my home
You believe it, believe it, believe it
From home (from home)
My home (from home)
A long way from my home
oh yeah baby I’m coming
I’m coming to see you right now yeah
and you gonna make me feel so happy
yeah yeah

Slavery19

This traditional Negro spiritual dates back to the era of slavery in the United States. In that period it  was common for the children of slaves to be torn from their parents and sold away in the slave auctions.

In the song we feel hopelessness, pain and despair, although the repeated word   sometimes” may suggest an idea of hope

Metaphorically, the “motherless child” is  a slave torn from his/her  motherland: Africa.

Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813 –1897), an African-American writer who managed to escape from slavery, wrote an autobiographical novel: “ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” (1861), in which  there is the description of  a slave-market she observed in North Carolina:

On one of these sale days, I saw a mother lead seven children to the auction-block. She knew that some of them would be taken from her; but they took all. The children were sold to a slave-trader, and their mother was brought by a man in her own town. Before night her children were all far away. She begged the trader to tell her where he intended to take them; this he refused to do. How could he, when he knew he would sell them, one by one, wherever he could command the highest price? I met that mother in the street, and her wild, haggard face lives to-day in my mind. She wrung her hands in anguish, and exclaimed, “Gone! All gone! Why don’t God kill me?” I had no words wherewith to comfort her. Instances of this kind are of daily, yea, of hourly occurrence.

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