GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
Greenwood, MS
Fall 1963
Led by Fannie Lou Hamer
A traditional Christmas song heralding the birth of the Christ child, "Go Tell It on the Mountain" was usually sung as an arranged spiritual by Black high school and college choirs. The verses come from the traditional repertoire and are also found in the spirituals "Go Down Moses" and "Wade in the Water." The phrase "Let My People Go" is associated with the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Hamer's singing of the song takes it out of that fram of reference and moves it back into a congregational song style; in so doing, she transforms the traditional message, creating a song heralding the oncoming Civil Rights struggle.
Courtesy of Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs, 1960-1966 a Smithsonian Folkways Recording1997.
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