All My Trials

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"All My Trials" is a folk song during the social protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It is based on a Bahamian lullaby that tells the story of a mother on her death bed, comforting her children, "Hush little baby, don't you cry./You know your mama's bound to die," because, as she explains, "All my trials, Lord,/Soon be over." The message — that no matter how bleak the situation seemed, the struggle would "soon be over" — propelled the song to the status of an anthem, recorded by many of the leading artists of the era.

The song is usually classified as a Spiritual because of its biblical and religious imagery. There are references to the "Lord", "a little book" with a message of "liberty", "brothers", "religion", "paradise", "pilgrims" and the "tree of life" awaiting her after her hardships, referred to as "trials". There is an allegory of the river Jordan, the crossing thereof representing the Christian experience of death as something which "...chills the body but not the soul." The river/death allegory was popularised by John Bunyan in his classic, The Pilgrim's Progress and the wording echoes the teaching of Jesus, to "...fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." (Matthew 10:28)