It was born in the oral culture of African slaves in the American south. It was embraced by the civil rights movement in the 1960's. Today it is a perennial favorite at Christmas concerts and church services across North America. The spiritual Go Tell It on the Mountain has come to mean many things depending on the time and place in which it is sung - freedom anthem, hymn of faith, a simple song of Christmas. As is the case with most spirituals, its music and lyrics cannot be attributed to any one person. African American composer John Wesley Work is credited with formally adapting the song and including it in a songbook in 1907. But the versions of Go Tell it on the Mountain are as varied and distinctive as the people performing it. But it is always, at its heart, a song of joy. This program comes to us from Producer Jean Dalrymple of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and is part of our ongoing international documentary exchange series, Crossing Boundaries.
|Go Tell it on the Mountain
Go Tell it on the Mountain was produced by Jean Dalrymple. The James Baldwin readings were by Sandy Ross. Special thanks to CBC network producer Stewart Young in Halifax. This program originally aired as part of the international documentary exchange, Crossing Boundaries.
History of Negro Spirituals
Learn about how the history of the spiritual coincided with major events for African Americans including the abolition of slavery, the Black Renaissance, and the first Dr. Martin Luther King’s Day.
Go, Tell it on the Mountain
Listen to the hymn, read the verses, and learn more about the writer, John W. Work, Jr.
African American Heritage Hymnal: 575 Hymns, Spirituals, and Gospel Songs
by: Delores Carpenter, Nolan Williams September 2001
The 575 hymns, spirituals, and gospel songs in this book represent the common repertoire of African American churches across the United States.