“Go to Sleep, My Little Pickaninny”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (Brown)
Keywords: lullaby nonballad
Found in: US(SE)

Description

The "little Alabama coon" is told, "Go to sleep, my little pickaninny, Brother Fox will catch you if you don't...." Fuller forms may describe the child's life and ambitions for when he grows up

Notes

Brown gives two forms of this song, one a genuine song in which the baby describes its aspirations (such as they are), the second probably a pure lullaby. The full form, which is strongly racist, is probably a minstrel piece which wore down to the somewhat less offensive lullaby version. - RBW

References

  1. BrownIII 116, "Go to Sleep, My Little Pickaninny" (2 texts plus mention of 1 more)
  2. BI, Br3116