Ella Sheppard Moore










Candace Corrigan
707 N Spring St
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

(615) 904-0085


Radio Portraits inspired from women's diaries written 1779-1959


Ella Sheppard Moore 1851-1914
Original Fisk Jubilee Singer

"My father lived in Nashville, TN, and had bought himself for $1,800." So begins an account written in 1873 by Ella Sheppard Moore, original member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Classically trained as a pianist, she became the assistant music teacher for Fisk University. She was an original member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and toured with the popular singing group for seven years throughout Europe and the United States.


When Sarah was young and pretty
And a baby girl on her knee
Sarah had a master who had
Promised she'd go free

Came one night a big old fight
With a loud and angry cries
And the Missus crying,
"No, Sarah is mine
She's mine until she dies"

Sarah ran with her baby girl
To the banks of the river so tall
To throw herself and
Her baby in the river
Meaning to end it all

Steal Away, Steal away,
Steal Away to Jesus
Raise your voice to Heaven on High
Steal Away to Jesus

Old Mammy Vinney cried,
"Honey, don't you do it
I can tell what you're planning to do
Do not do that
What you can't take back
Now the Lord is talking to you"

"The Lords got plans for this baby girl
See it in the clouds rolling by"
Sarah she walked back into slavery
Holding her head up high

Sarah went to the Missus and said
"I will go where ever you choose
But you must let my child go free
Or both of us you'll loose"

So the baby went free to her daddy
In the hills of Tennessee
And Sarah went South with the Missus
She was longing to be free

I might be sitting in a fine brick house
Or sitting in a ladies garden
If I could I surely would
Be home with my darlin'

The baby grew to a fine young lady
Singing in Tennessee
Many a king came to the Lord
In the songs of the Jubilee

The Moral of this story
The moral of this song
Sing praises to the Lord,
Be kind to each other
We won't be here long

Song Sources:
"Before Emancipation", "Negro Womanhood: It's Past"
, pamphlets by Ella Sheppard Moore, Folk Song of the American Negro by John Work, Nashville, 1915, Fisk University, Special Collections, Nashville, TN

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