Sunday, November 30, 2014

I'm On My Way (civil rights song)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides lyrics and a video of the civil rights song " This post also provides information about the African American Spiritual that was adapted to create that song.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.
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LYRICS: I'M ON MY WAY
I'm on my way to the freedom land
I'm on my way to the freedom land
I'm on my way to the freedom land
I'm on my way, praise God
I'm on my way.

I asked my brother to come with me
I asked my brother to come with me
I asked my brother to come with me
I'm on my way, praise God
I'm on my way.

I asked my sister to come with me
I asked my sister to come with me
I asked my sister to come with me
I'm on my way, praise God
I'm on my way.
If they say no, I'll go alone
If they say no, I'll go alone
If they say no, I'll go alone
I'm on my way, praise God
I'm on my way.
I'm on my way, and I won't turn back
I'm on my way, and I won't turn back
I'm on my way, and I won't turn back
I'm on my way, praise God
I'm on my way.
Source: http://www.songsforteaching.com/billharley/imonmyway.htm
-snip-
The civil rights song "I'm On My Way" is an adaptation of the African American Spiritual "I'm On My Way To Canaan Land" (also known as "I'm On My Way To The Kingdom Land" and "I'm Bound For The Promised Land.) Note that there are several Spirituals and other religious songs with the title "I'm On My Way To Canaan Land" or "Bound To Canaan" or similar title. "Canaan", "the Promised Land", and "the Kingdom land" were references to heaven. Some of the versions of those Spirituals had the same or nearly the same words that are used for the civil rights song. Only the meanings of those words are different. In the civil rights song, "freedom land" meant a land where everyone had equal rights under the law. Click http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=62684 "Lyr Req: I'm on my way to the kingdom land" for examples of lyrics for that Spiritual.

I quoted this comment about the United States civil rights movement of the 1960s in that same Mudcat thread:
"I'm On My Way
The Civil Rights movement in 1960s was the singingest movement in American history. Old African American spirituals like, “I Will Overcome,” “I'm On My Way to Canaan Land” and dozens of others were adapted by marchers and demonstrators throughout the South and across the nation. By design, the repetitive nature and “call back” structure of a spiritual make it ideal for improvised group singing."
From Sing for Freedom, (edited and compiled by Guy and Candie Carawan; Sing Out! Publications). I posted that quote in this Mudcat [folk music] forum discussion thread: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=62684. The link to the online source for that book's quote is no longer viable.

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SHOWCASE SOUND FILE: Mahalia Jackson - I'm On My Way [Spiritual]

The WORD is ALIVE Hebrews 4:12Uploaded on Aug 17, 2008

Mahalia Jackson - I'm On My Way
***I LOVE THE RHYTHM AND THE SOULFULNESS OF THIS SONG, I COULD SEE HER SINGING THIS DIRECTLY TO ME, I'M ON MY WAY!!!!!!!!!!

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2 comments:

  1. I sang this as a child and recently remembered it. We sang it to a slightly different tune, but mostly the same words. Thank you for putting the lyrics and songs here!

    "I'm on my way, thank God I'm on my way..."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also remember singing a song about a "Freedom Train" or something along those lines. If you know any songs like that, please tell me!

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