Original Author: James A. Bland, composer; Blood, artist; Connelly Co., engravers
Created: 1878
Medium: Engraved sheet music cover

“Carry Me Back to Old Virginny.”

The sheet music cover for "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," a minstrel song written in 1878 by the Black composer and performer James A. Bland, features a romanticized view of plantation life. In the foreground, an elderly freedman in tattered clothing looks back with nostalgia upon slavery days. He imagines himself at sunrise as a young man leaving a tidy cabin with smoke rising from the chimney and heading off to the fields with a hoe on his shoulder. The bucolic scene bears little resemblance to the cruelty of chattel enslavement. This song, renamed "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," was the official state song of Virginia from 1940 to 1997.

Citation: "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny: Song and Chorus." M1658 .V8 B5 1878. Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

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