TEXT

Hold the Wind

African-American spirituals, such as this one, are religious folksongs. They are associated with enslavement, and are often seen as protest songs.
Grade Level

This text is part of the Teaching Hard History Text Library and aligns with Key Concepts 5, 9 and 10.

Hold the wind!  
Hold the wind! 
Hold the wind! 
Don’t let it blow! 

I got my Jesus, going to hold him fast 
Hold the wind! 
Don’t let it blow! 
I got my Jesus, going to hold Him fast 
Hold the wind! 
Don’t let it blow! 

I’m going to stand a sea of glass 
Hold the wind! 
Don’t let it blow! 
I’m going to stand on a sea of glass 
Hold the wind! 
Don’t let it blow! 

Thund’ring and lightning and it looks like rain 
Hold the wind! 
Don’t let it blow! 
Thund’ring and lightning and it looks like rain 

Source
This text is in the public domain. Retrieved from https://www.negrospirituals.com/songs/hold_the_wind.htm.
Text Dependent Questions
  1. Question
    Wind is often used as a metaphor for the Spirit of God. What do a “spirit” and the “wind” have in common?
    Answer
    Neither are physical objects – they can’t be seen or held, but their presence can be felt.
  2. Question
    What does it mean to “hold the wind”?
    Answer
    Holding the wind would mean harnessing or capturing something that cannot be captured. On a metaphorical level, to hold the wind would be an ability to control one’s circumstances. On a spiritual level, it is maintaining one’s faith.
  3. Question
    What religious message does this spiritual have for enslaved people?
    Answer
    Though holding the wind is something they can’t physically do, just as they can’t control their circumstances, they can “hold” on to Jesus, or maintain their faith and salvation.
  4. Question
    What is the message about the enslaved people’s control over their own lives?
    Answer
    There are things they cannot control, but they should not “let it blow” or let it destroy them. They also can control their spiritual life. They can’t “hold the wind” but they have “got” Jesus.
  5. Question
    How does it express hope?
    Answer
    One may not be able to physically “hold the wind”, but they can maintain a spiritual/religious life. The lyric “I’m going to stand on a sea of glass” is referencing when Jesus walked on water, implying that they too will transcend their physical limitations in the spiritual world.
  6. Question
    How does it express sorrow?
    Answer
    Inability to “hold the wind” is also a reflection of the enslaved people’s inability to control their circumstances. “Thund’ring and lighting and it looks like rain,” implies that the wind is bringing storms or turbulent times.
  7. Question
    How does this illustrate the ways in which enslaved people resisted the efforts of their enslavers to dehumanize them?
    Answer
    Even though they are enslaved, circumstances they may not be able to affect, they can still maintain a faith. As a spiritual life is not a physical manifestation, it is something that cannot be taken from them. Thus, this piece of their humanity is completely controlled by the individual, not by their circumstances or by those who have enslaved them.
Reveal Answers
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