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January 1, 2013

A spiritual to mark the 150th anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation

On New Year's Day, 150 years ago, American history was forever changed when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

As we all know too well, that document alone did not free any slaves, but it was a crucial step that made clear the ultimate goal of the Civil War.

If you have seen Steven Spielberg's riveting film "Lincoln," you've probably been freshly consumed, as I have, by thoughts about this chapter of our country's past.

I know it sounds superficial, but the experience of the movie has made me feel the weight of today's anniversary more, has brought into sharper focus the significance and boldness of the Emancipation Proclamation -- and the subsequent effort to build on that step by fighting to pass the 13th Amendment, which "Lincoln" depicts so vividly.

To take note of this New Year's milestone in history, the deep, soul-stirring voice of Marian Anderson seems appropriate, even essential. Here is her recording of the spiritual "My Lord, What a Morning":

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:27 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Clef Notes, Drama Queens


Indeed, this is a very appropriate song to celebrate the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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