Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Devil's Strife (from "Georgia in Song")

I have just become aware of the book Georgia in Song. For reasons beknownst to me, this book is not frequently discussed on the web. Perhaps this excerpt illustrates why.

One of the most famous Georgia songs came from Pawleys Island in the 1720s, written by Monroe Edwards, an escaped fugitive slave who hid in Pawleys Island and nearby Ocracoke Island. His tale of lament is told in "The Devil's Strife," recognized as a founding song of Georgia by then-Governor Jimmy Carter in 1970:

"Beneath the shadow of Mount Kenya
I was born to the richest life
But I was sent to farthest Georgia
A pawn in God's and the devil's strife

"The devil's home is on the mainland
But here I live on the Georgia isles
But yet my God will not protect me
So I use my cunning and wiles"

(From Georgia in Song by Bernice Johnson Reagon, edited by Peter Leppik.)

And no, I'm not going to re-edit this post within a week. The flames would be too excessive.

P.S. (not that this P.S. is necessary, but perhaps it is): Follow the links for more information on the two Georgia Islands Pawleys and Ocracoke, and for the escaped slave Monroe Edwards. The latest information on author Bernice Johnson Reagaon can be found here, while information on editor Peter Leppik can be found here and elsewhere.

P.P.S. Always check your sources.


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