Wade in the Water Lyrics
The words and lyrics of this
African American Spiritual begin with "Wade in
the water, children" as the first
line of the song. The words, tune and lyrics of the "Wade in the Water"
song were passed on verbally and the names of the
author and composer are therefore unknown.
Wade in the Water Song Meaning and History
The history of the "Wade in the Water"
song lyrics date back to the Slave Plantations
during the 1800's. Meaning: The song was sung by slaves as a
Biblical references to the story of Moses leading
the Israelites from the bondage of Pharaoh. The line
of the song "follow me down to the Jordan's stream"
refers to a secret code word. The "River Jordan"
referred to in the Bible was a secret code name for
the Ohio River which was the dividing line between
the slave states in the South and the non-slave
states in the North and the goal of fugitive slaves.
The title of the song, "Wade in the Water" was an
instruction to runaway slaves to abandon the path
and move into the water to avoid capture by throwing
the dogs used by slave catchers off the scent. We have placed
"Wade in the Water" in the category of African American Spirituals, aka Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs.
Wade in the Water Song
Title: Wade in the Water *** Name
of Composer: Unknown *** Name
Author / Writer of Lyrics:
Unknown *** Category: Slave
Songs aka African American Spirituals or Negro