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"Long John" (1845)

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In this recording, the artists Lightening and Group perform a nineteenth-century song about a runaway slave. As you listen to the recording, consider what music like this might reveal about the experience of slavery for African-Americans. What risks were involved in running away? Why did the freedom to move from place to place become such a significant part of American slaves' definition of liberty.

From John C. Calhoun, Speech in Congress (1837)

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We of the South will not, cannot surrender our institutions. To maintain the existing relations between the two races, inhabiting that section of the Union, is indispensable to the peace and happiness of both. It cannot be subverted without drenching the continent in blood, and extirpating one or the other of the races....I appeal to all sides whether the South is not equal [to the North] in virtue, intelligence, patriotism, courage...and all the high qualities which adorn our nature. I ask whether...we have not constantly inclined most strongly to the side of liberty, and been the first to see and first to resist the encroachments of power. In one thing only are we inferior - the arts of gain; we acknowledge that we are less wealthy than the Northern section of this Union....I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good - a positive good....I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and cultivated society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other....I fearlessly assert that the existing relation between the two races in the South...forms the most solid and durable foundation on which to rear free and stable political institutions.