From the recording BAREFOOT AND FLYING

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05. I’D RATHER BE 2:33
Songwriter/Author: Traditional - Arr. by THE EH

When Africans were first brought to North America as ‘indentured servants,’ their physical strength and native skills (of growing rice-for example) contributed substantially to the wealth and growth of this country. Two centuries of slave labor in agriculture, mining, metal refining, transportation, and domestic work created huge resentment and bias in other ethnic groups that had immigrated to the American south seeking jobs and income. Southern masters preferred the ‘cheaper and more reliable’ labor of the slave population to the new arrivals and the native-born poor. These other ethnic groups discredited anything to do with African-Americans and made sure they were banned from joining craftsman guilds or apprenticing at any skilled work. “I’d Rather Be A **** Than A Poor White Man” is an early example of Black Pride, a tune composed to boost the morale of African Americans.