Bob Marley's Redemption Song - the Canadian connection
I was listening to Bob Marley's Redemption Song the other day. I was struck by how different it is from most of his music. It's only him on acoustic guitar and his singing has an old fashioned blues or spirituals quality to it that I find striking. It reminds me of the early music by Blind Willie Johnson.
If you want more information about Bob Marley please see this blog post by John P.
We also have many options available in sheet music / score for Bob Marley's music:
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
These are the most famous lines / quotation from the song. It is a paraphrase from a speech that Marcus Garvey gave in Menelik Hall in Whitney Pier / Sydney (often stated as Halifax) Nova Scotia October 1937:
“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind, because man is related to man under all circumstances for good or ill."
Google books has much of the original speech available online from the book "The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers" around pages 788-791.
In doing research for this blog post I came across a lot of writing that speaks to how inspirational and important these couple of lines are.
If you are looking to learn more about Marcus Garvey the Library has a wealth of material for adults and kids.
If you're wondering why Black Nationalist / Pan Africanist Marcus Garvey would go to speak in Nova Scotia then you may want to explore the long and rich history of Blacks in Africville and the East coast.
If you are looking for more information on Black History Month then you would be very interested in the North York Central Library blog post How Black History Month Became A Canadian Tradition.
If you're interested in the history of Reggae in Toronto you will really enjoy the following Toronto Public Library blog post Research Guide to Reggae Lane: Toronto's Jamaican Music Scene, 1960s to the Present.