- Sandra Jean Graham
From the mid-1830s through the Civil War, abolitionists systematically deployed songs as spiritual weaponry in the fight to eradicate slavery in the United States. Although anti-slavery sentiment was apparent as early as the 1680s, among the Quakers and Mennonites, and gained momentum as anti-slavery legislation was gradually enacted in the North, music became central to the movement only when anti-slavery societies proliferated in the 1830s. With slavery virtually eliminated in the northern states, William Lloyd Garrison engaged northern white abolitionists and African Americans in agitating for slavery’s complete and immediate end, using poetry and music to intensify the evangelical theology and fervor of this moralist crusade. In ...