Despite the fact that it appears to chronicle the final phase of the War Between the States, "Kingdom Coming" was written early in 1862 and released on April 23 of that same year, following a week-long promotional blitz by its Chicago publishers, Root & Cady. Given its premier performance by Christy's Minstrels, the song was an overnight sensation. It was as well received by blacks as it was by whites and was said to have been sung by black troops as they marched into Richmond during the final days of the conflict.

Oddly enough, as the war ground down to its conclusion, the song became popular in the South as well and remained so for some years after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

"Linkum" is Lincoln rendered in the minstrel-stage black dialect used by Work and others writing for the genre. The mention of massa's being tanned enough to pass for contraband refers to the U.S. Army's wartime policy of treating any blacks who made it to the safety of Union lines as the property the South claimed they were and "confiscating" them as contraband.

This song is also known as "The Year of Jubilo," a Biblical reference to the longed-for day on which all people will be set free.

"Kingdom Coming"