In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe confronted the American readership with the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a story about the circumstances of the black slaves and she povided a great riot at that. Foster wasn’t a political reformer although he condemned every manner of cruelty.

Foster’s songs didn’t remain untouched of this. He wasn’t moved by political enthusiasm against slavery, his personal sympathy moved him only. The songs which he wrote to this topic showed a distance to the earlier melodies of his own, at least they were formulated still more sensitively to the problems of the blacks. His songs showed an as regards content and musical further development of Foster with that now.






The Afro-American musician W. C. Handy, who wrote the St. Louis Blues, said some day: “The fountain of the cares creates the music of the blacks from this, is full of secrets. It is already a strange feeling if the blues comes about one and I suspect that also Foster has created from this melancholy. His music speaks about a narrow familiarity with the destiny of the blacks.”






Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay,
Gone are my friends from the cotton fields away,
Gone from the earth to a better land I know,
I hear their gentle voices calling “Old Black Joe”.
I’m coming, I’m coming, for my head is bending low:
I hear those gentle voices calling, “Old Black Joe”

Why do I weep when my heart should feel no pain
Why do I sigh that my friends come not again,
Grieving for forms now departed long ago.
I hear their gentle voices calling “Old Black Joe”.

Where are the hearts once so happy and so free?
The children so dear that I held upon my knee,
Gone to the shore where my soul has longed to go.
I hear their gentle voices calling “Old Black Joe”.