Links: Hal Leonard Publishing - Brazael Dennard
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Notes on the text from Dr. Rosephanye Powell:
“Hush” is to tell those weeping for us during sickness or dying to stop weeping because there is joy in dying. The verse “soon one morning, death come creeping in my room” was something the slave longed for and welcomed because it meant freedom from slavery. There is a verse that says “sounds like Jesus” and that refers to the fact that they are truly saved and Jesus is calling them home. Relative to slavery in a sociological context, “hush” was an indication to keep quiet and listen because a conductor in the Underground Railroad was in the area and whatever their signal was (whistling, barking, knocking, tapping on the window) was indicative to the slave’s name being called. Or a list of slaves wishing to escape, including the cabin location could have been provided to the conductor who actually whispered the escapee’s name in close proximity. In this context, the verse “sounds like Jesus” is a way of letting those in the slave community know that a conductor or liberator was in the area.