MICHAEL ROW THE BOAT ASHORE

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

MICHAEL ROW THE BOAT ASHORE

Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” (or “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore”) is an African-
American spiritual. It was first noted during the Civil War at St. Helena Island, one of the
Sea Islands of South Carolina. It was sung by former slaves whose owners had
abandoned the island before the Union navy would arrive to enforce a blockade. Charles
Pickard Ware, an abolitionist and Harvard graduate who had come to supervise the
plantations on St. Helena Island from 1862 to 1865, wrote the song down in music
notation as he heard the freedmen sing it. Ware’s cousin, William Francis Allen reported
in 1863 that while he rode in a boat across Station Creek, the former slaves sang the song
as they rowed. The song was first published in Slave Songs of the United States, by
Allen, Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison, in 1867.
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
River Jordan is chilly and cold, hallelujah
Chills the body but not the soul, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Jordan river is deep and is wide, hallelujah
I’ve got a home on the other side, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael’s Boat is a music boat , hallelujah
Michael’s Boat is a music boat , hallelujah
Michael row the boat, the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah