Go Down, Moses Essay

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Drohan is a professional editor and writer who specializes in classic and contemporary literature. In the following essay, she explores the history of "Go Down, Moses" and the connection the poem makes between the struggle of the enslaved Jews escaping Egypt and the struggles of African-American slaves in pre-Civil WarAmerica.

"Go Down, Moses" is an old African-American spiritual, or folk song, that has remained popular for hundreds of years. Many historians believe it originated in the late eighteenth century among the slaves in the southern states. Prior to the civil war, African Americans were held captive as slaves on southern plantations, forced to work long hours and to endure tremendous physical and emotional brutality. Because plantation owners feared an uprising of the slaves, any sign of rebellion was met with severe punishment, such as whipping, branding, dismembering, or castrating. In fact, it was completely legal to kill a...

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This section contains 1,501 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Go Down, Moses Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Go Down, Moses from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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