Antislavery Hymn

Book Excerpt


Background Notes

For its time, the antislavery movement was quite sophisticated in its use of the available media to spread its message. In fact, the skillfulness of antislavery “propaganda” was one of the reasons the movement was so feared and disliked. Abolitionist writers took familiar tunes and provided them with new lyrics that were scathing attacks on slavery and its defenders. Changing the words to the patriotic tune “America,” for example, would have been quite controversial in most communities.

Transcription of Primary Source

My country! ’tis of thee,
Stronghold of slavery,
Of thee I sing:
Land where my fathers died,
Where men man’s rights deride,
From every mountainside,
Thy deeds shall ring.
My native country! thee,
Where all men are born free,
If white their skin:
I love thy hills and dales,
Thy mounts and pleasant vales,
But hate thy negro sales,
As foulest sin.
Let wailing swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
The black man’s wrong;
Let every tongue awake,
Let bond and free partake,
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our Father’s God! To thee,
Author of Liberty,
To thee we sing;
Soon may our land be bright,
With holy freedom’s right,
Protect us by they might,
Great God, our King.

Curator Notes

Exact Title: 
Anti−Slavery Melodies
Jarius Lincoln, [ed.] Anti−Slavery Melodies: for The Friends of Freedom. Prepared for The Hingham Anti−Slavery Society. Words by A.G. Duncan. (Hingham, [Mass.]: Elijah B. Gill, 1843), 28−29.
Lincoln, Jarius [ed.]
Elijah B. Gill
Place of Publication: 
Hingham, [Mass.]
Old Sturbridge Village
Catalog Code: 
784 L63a