Yesterday, we listened to 2 traditional spirituals in class- "Poor Man Lazrus" and "Soon-Ah Will Be Done", both sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. When asked to summarize the text, here's what 6th graders wrote- my own comments in bold.
About "Poor Man Lazrus"
"It's about how they used to put slaves into a fire to punish them" (I fear this kid has mixed up slavery with the Holocaust)
"It's about a poor man named Lazrus who got his finger stuck in a watermelon." (If you know the song, this makes sense. "Dip your finger in the water, come and ...." does sound like "Stick your finger in the watermelon"
And about "Soon-Ah Will Be Done"
"It's about Jesus and your mom" (MOM, there's a spiritual about you!)
"It's about a guy who's done with women so he's gonna go stay with God" (So that's why the slaves were so upset: girl problems.)
"Talking about going home to live with god and the song talks about meeting Jueuss" (Best spelling of Jesus ever.)
"They want to eat his mom and Jesus." (Maybe the Fisk Jubilee Singers need to work on diction- the text is "I want to MEET my Mother")