Look down dat lonesome road!
De way are dark an' col'
Dey makes me weep, dey makes me moan,
All cause my love are sold.
"A nigger sings about two things -- what he eats and his woman."1 Euphemistically rephrased and with some extension of definite bounds made to include spirituals, this critical dictum of a Southern plantation overseer represents the opinion of most people today in regard to the nature and extent of Negro folksong. Even scholars who believe that there are other motivations for the composition of folksong than the satisfaction of the need for entertainment and diversion, are not agreed on explanations for the comparative paucity of songs embodying protest and discontent from an ethnic group whose history in America for the past three hundred years has been a story of almost continuous oppression____________________