Cover: drawing of an African American woman trying to hush two screaming African American babies; description reads plantation slumber song; Publisher: M. Witmark and Sons (New York)
Subject Headings (Library of Congress)
Songs -- United States -- 19th Century; Popular Music -- United States
Sheldon Harris Collection (MUM00682), Archives and Special Collections, University of Mississippi Libraries
Way down upon a cotton farm in Southern Alabam', there dwells a happy Mammy and her babes, Two pumpkin colored pickaninies playing in the sand, and frolicing beneath the palm leaf shades. When evening comes they toddle home and feast on mush and milk, Their Mammy hums to them her plaintive tunes, Then oft to sleep they go, as she rocks them to and fro, These cunning little pumpkin colored coons.
Go to sleep, sh! my little pickaninies, Don't you weep or cry, If you don't Mammy won't Buy her babies any more sweet lasses candy, Shut your eyes, Sh! my little pickaninies, Dad will be here soon Sh! don't cry, Byaby, Mammy's little pumpkin colored coons.
Each evening after supper, when his daily toil is o'er, the Daddy of these cunning little coons, Takes each upon his knee from off the kitchen floor, their little eyes with laughter shine like moons. Then to amuse his little pets, till Mammy makes the bed, Dad sings to them some old familiar tunes, It nearly breaks his heart, when from them he has to part, When Mammy puts to bed her little coons.
The derogatory terms, images, and ideas that appear in some of this sheet music are not condoned by the University of Mississippi. They do represent the attitudes of a number of Americans at the times the songs were published. As such, it is hoped that the sheet music in this collection can aid students of music, history, and other disciplines to better understand popular American music and racial stereotypes from the 19th- and early 20th-centuries.