"Amazing Grace", sung by Paul Robeson

"Amazing Grace", one of the best known hymns in the English language, was composed by John Newton, former captain of a slave ship and eyewitness to and participant in the brutalities suffered by newly captured slaves as they were carried away from their homes. The song speaks of repentance. Newton in later life wrote his recollections of the slave trade in support of the abolitionist movement.

John Newton
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, African American Legacy Series

© 2008, Smithsonian Folkways. All Rights Reserved.


Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a soul like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear,
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far ,
And Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

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