The abolitionist story behind treasured Christmas hymns, Wk 1 of 4…

“Go Tell It on the Mountain”

John Wesley Work, Jr., an African-American professor at Fisk University in Nashville, first published the lyrics and music to this slave spiritual in 1907.

Writes Ace Collins in his book, Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas:

The song had come from the fields of the South, born from the inspiration of a slave’s Christmas, and it was unique in that, in the hundreds of Negro spirituals the work family saved from extinction, few had been written about Christmas. Most, as would seem only natural, centered on earthly pain and suffering, and the joy and happiness that only heaven seemed to offer.