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Morning Song – Tis The Old Ship Of Zion

June 9, 2013

You might think that getting onto a ship and sailing across the waters to a distant shore far from everything you’ve known and loved would be the last thing Negro slaves would want to sing about.  And yet, here’s “Tis The Old Ship Of Zion” to prove the opposite is true.

This is a song that carefully measures out every aspect and consequence of getting on that ship, and still urges the listener to “get on board“.  It’s a reminder of the radically subversive power of Christianity—and of oppressed peoples—to take the worst this world has dished out and transform it into a tool for imagining and fashioning a brighter future.

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From → Music, Religion

2 Comments
  1. Nicole permalink

    There is an underlining message in all Negro Spirituals. The Ships of Zion are taking us away from America to our Native Land it has nothing to do with the white man/oppressors. The Bible talks about these Ships it’s an excellent study that has nothing absolutely nothing to do with slavery. Our ancestors knew they had knowledge and passed it down to us for these times through songs, for those with ears to hear. We have to stop blaming the white man, yeah, yeah been there, and start really focusing on the message not blame.

  2. sharon harper permalink

    The song was an expression of their hope for relief from the horrors of slavery when they sail on the Old Ship of Zion. It was sung with lyrics that carried more than one meaning so as to fool the enslavers.

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