African Children’s Songs: A Legendary Teaching Tool

Dr. Gloria Kirkland Holmes


This paper presents a multicultural perspective of the historical and legendary analysis of African American children’s songs highlighting the important interpersonal familial relationships that have been noted teaching tools for African American children. The data includes multiple songs that have been used for generations to teach children values, history and cultural experiences with life enhancing strength and determination.

These diverse experiences are characterized by historical practices that called for African American families to find multimodal means of teaching their children when it was against the law for African Americans to learn to read or to become educated.

This research reveals that at various stages in the lives of African American children, parents and extended family members found ways to culturally educate their children. This was done through use of historical and generational African American songs and games. They have been instrumental in providing hope of a better life for those who were oppressed and often denied some of life’s inalienable rights.

Teachers at all grade levels including ESL and Special Education could enhance children’s learning through use of multimodal thinking and learning activities.

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