April Music


Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln couldn't carry a tune himself, but he deeply loved music. His mother, in that lonely backwoods log cabin, would have sung beautiful lyrical ballads to him like Annie Laurie.


Gettysburg Address

Lincoln had never attended an opera before coming to the White House, but soon became a great fan, attending the opera over thirty times during his term. He was criticized for doing so, but responded, "The truth is I must have a change of some sort or die." 

One of his favorite operas was Gounod's Faust, which he watched four times. He especially loved the rousing Soldier's Chorus.


Sleeping Sentinel

Certain songs would "mist his eyes and throw him into a fit of deep melancholy."

Lincoln's music friend from the Shenandoah Valley, Ward Lamon, once recalled: "Many a time, in the old days on the Illinois circuit, and often at the White House when he and I were alone, have I seen him in tears while I was rendering in my poor way that homely melody ['Twenty Years Ago']."



Lincoln's friend would often get Lincoln laughing by playing one of his favorite banjo songs, Blue Tail Fly.


The Faith of Lincoln

Lincoln's favorite hymn was How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours written by John Newton, the former slave ship captain who composed Amazing Grace.


Out of Africa


Lucretia Mott

The Drinking Gourd referred to the Big Dipper in the sky, which gave directions to safe havens in the North.


Sojourner Truth


John Brown


Elijah P. Lovejoy Part I


Elijah P. Lovejoy Part II


William Lloyd Garrison


Harriet Beecher Stowe


Frederick Douglass


Harriet Tubman


Robert Gould Shaw


Song of the Slaves


Joel Chandler Harris

There has been much controversy surrounding Disney's Song of the South which is based on Joel Chandler Harris' folktales. Splash Mountain in Disneyland, built around the characters, will carry a new theme and the movie has been locked up in the Disney vaults for decades. Learning about why the movie was made and the different reactions to it can be a valuable learning experience if you are open to it. I am linking the final scene with the song Zip-a-Dee-Do-Dah, which won the Academy Award for best song. Uncle Remus was portrayed as a warm-hearted storyteller, but some see his portrayal as racially offensive. It could spark a discussion with older children as to why the movie is seen as so controversial. I leave it to your discretion. Do keep in mind the movie takes place after the slaves have been emancipated. There is no slavery depicted in the movie.


Booker T. Washington Part 1


Booker T. Washington Part 2


Mary Mcleod Bethune Part 1


Mary Mcleod Bethune Part 2


Matter of Feelings