Nursery Rhymes

Roll, Jordan, Roll

Roll, Jordan, Roll Lyrics

The words and lyrics of this African American Spiritual begin with "Roll Jordan, roll, I wanter go to heav'n when I die" as the first line of the song. The words, tune and lyrics of the "Roll, Jordan, Roll" song were passed on verbally and the names of the author and composer are therefore unknown.

Roll, Jordan, Roll Song Meaning and History
The history of the "Roll, Jordan, Roll" song lyrics date back to the Slave Plantations between the 1700's to 1800's. Meaning: The song was sung by slaves as a reference to gaining freedom by becoming a runaway slave. The words and lyrics contain a biblical reference to the River Jordan which the Israelites crossed to enter the Promised Land (Joshua 3:1 - 4:24). The Ohio River was given the code name of the "River Jordan" by African American slaves because it was the dividing line between the slave states and bondage in the South and the non-slave states and freedom  in the North. We have placed "Roll, Jordan, Roll" in the category of African American Spirituals, aka Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs.

Roll, Jordan, Roll Song
Title: Roll, Jordan, Roll *** Name of Composer: Unknown *** Name Author / Writer of Lyrics: Unknown *** Category: Slave Songs aka African American Spirituals or Negro Spirituals

Roll, Jordan, Roll Lyrics

Roll Jordan, roll
Roll Jordan, roll
I wanter go to heav'n when I die
To hear ol' Jordan roll

O brethern
Roll Jordan, roll
Roll Jordan, roll
I wanter go to heav'n when I die
To hear ol' Jordan roll

Oh, brothers you oughter been dere
Yes my Lord
A-sittin' in the Kingdom
To hear ol' Jordan roll

Sing it over
Oh, sinner you oughter been dere
Yes my Lord
A-sittin' in the Kingdom
To hear ol' Jordan roll

Information about the Song
Title of Song: Roll, Jordan, Roll
Author of Lyrics: Unknown
Nationality of Author: African American
Name of Music Composer: Unknown
Song Category: Slave Songs aka African American Spirituals or Negro Spirituals
First Line of Song: "Roll Jordan, roll, I wanter go to heav'n when I die"
First Publication Date: 1867. The lyrics of the song were first published in 'Slave Songs of the United States'.

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