Aunt Dinah

This song has roots in oppression.

“Dinah” is a caricature of the African American “Mammy.” “ ..these caricatures were used to defend and romanticize slavery, and the characters were never shown as particularly smart or able to function well outside their role as domestic servants, as they neglected their own rowdy families. After slavery, these stereotypes encouraged employers to restrict African Americans to low-income drudgery work.” (source)

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4 thoughts on “Aunt Dinah”

  1. I love this song, and so do my kids! I’m doing my Kodaly levels, and would like to include this in my folk song index. I’m not sure if my professor will let me cite your blog as a source, so I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing where you first found this song?

    1. Rebecca, I am actually not sure where I first heard this song. It is in numerous collections. Can you just cite that it’s in the “public domain?”

    1. I guess it depends on what aged kids are doing the motions, but the lyrics seem to lend themselves to hand jive kinds of motions (thumbs over shoulders?), maybe even a hip swing or two? 🙂

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