AG: Does anyone know (William) Blake’s “Little Black Boy”? – with a funny similar, similar little metaphor in that. Anybody here know that? Does everybody here know “Little Black Boy”? Anyone not? Who knows it..?
Student: I don’t know it.
AG: ……or know of it, know of it.
Student: I heard it was sung.
AG: Yeah, maybe I’ll sing that..while we’re at it, at that – not that it’s that relevant but the tune is (also important)…..Just for a similarity of theme I’ll get right to that song.
Student: Page five-hundred-and-forty-seven
AG: What.. is it in here? – “Black Boy”?.. “The Little Black Boy”? – page five-forty-seven…..
I once sung this at a Martin Luther King memorial and everybody got mad. In front of Ralph Ellison and LeRoi Jones [sic] and Ted Joans. They really got.. (It) pissed everybody off.
Why don’t I just do it – five-forty-seven?
No, actually, I didn’t realize it. I thought it was a big metaphysical shot about.. I don’t know, the homosexuals or something…
[At approximately twenty-eight-and-three-quarter minutes in AG sings William Blake’s “Little Black Boy”, with harmonium accompaniment – “My mother bore me in the southern wild..”]
Student: Did they consider hear a kind of oreo crack in that opening verse or something?
AG: Well, you know.. No, it was, the “I am black, but O, my soul is white” was suddenly seen as a racist remark by the black people. It was considered the soul should be better being white rather than black (which, actually, it probably was, somewhat, not entirely, but it was (hardly a line to shock) because, he was.. in his time, Blake was, like, an Anti-Slavery prophet, and one of the people who got in danger fighting the establishment on slavery, and wrote prophetic books (The Visions of the Daughters of Albion), the book The Visions of the Daughters of Albion is about the enslavement of women and blacks, the slave-trade and the enslavement of women in his name, taking off from the ideas of early feminists, Mary Wollstonecraft.
But anyway, getting back to Campion…
[Audio for the above may be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-six-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-one-and-three-quarter minutes in]