“Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child” and “I Want to Be Ready”

Black singer and composer Harry T. Burleigh (1866 – 1949) knew Czech Nationalist composer Dvořák well. In fact, Burleigh was one of the first Black students to attend the newly created National Conservatory of Music in New York which was headed by Dvořák. It was Burleigh who introduced him to Spirituals, and, as the story goes, elements of Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony were inspired by those Spirituals that Burleigh sang to the rapt composer.