The Legend of Kora

THE LEGEND OF KORA: African String Instrument The Kora is known as one of the most complex string instruments. The instrument originates back in Africa and specifically the country of Gambia. Compared to modern times, the Kora resembles both the guitar and the harp, also in the string family. The Kora was developed in the […]

The Fisk Jubilee Singers

The Fisk Jubilee Singersby: Morgan Allen The Fisk Jubilee Singers are credited with the early popularization of Negro Spiritual music along with traditions. Negro Spiritual songs were not very known in the north or with white people so many of their audience was unaware of such music. This is due to the way slave […]

Rhiannon Giddens’: Step Into Folk Music

The story Behind Rhiannon Giddens Rhiannon Giddens was born on February 21,1977 in Greensboro North Carolina, a south that was facing major racial transformations at the time.  After attending the Oberlin Conservatory to study opera, Giddens began to immerse herself in the rural music traditions of the region in which she grew up in. Soon […]

The Great Awakening

The Great Awakening In simple terms, The Great Awakening was a period of religious revival that swept the American colonies in the mid-eighteenth century, beginning in 1740. This time period was a prerequisite for the birthing of the Negro spiritual.   While most documentation of the Great Awakening leaves out the African American history, as […]

History of The Negro Spiritual: The Fisk Jubilee Singers

Fisk Jubilee Singers The Fisk Jubilee Singers are students and singers at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, who sing and travel all over the world. The original Fisk Jubilee Singers introduced “slave songs” to the world in the late 1800s and were extremely influential in maintaining this different African American musical tradition we know […]

Spirituals: The Invisible Church

What was The Invisible Church? The Invisible Church’s were various sites of worship that enslaved African Americans would visit so they could worship God how they wanted without the supervision of a White Person. Enslaved Blacks would often sneak into the woods and go far into the Swamps In these “Invisible Churches” people would be […]

Afro-American Negro Spirituals

Afro American Negro Spirituals The Great Awakening The Great Awakening was a religious revival in the 1740s that swept through the American colonies. This revival led to religious freedom and the formation of many new churches across America. In relation to negro spirituals,the revival movement increased the number of African slaves who were exposed to and […]

Marian Anderson: The Voice of the Arranged Spiritual

Marian Anderson: The Voice of the Arranged Spiritual Who is she? Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her family was extremely faith based and was well connected within the church.Marian herself was involved in the junior church choir where she really found her love for music. Her parents couldn’t afford […]

The background history of Negro Spirituals and Hymns

The background history of Negro Spirituals and Hymns What is a Negro Spiritual?   A Negro Spiritual is a genre of music particularly composed by African Americans with the story/meaning of Christianity behind it. This genre of music expressed social/physical experiences from person to person. And those that were enslaved. These spirituals also made it […]

Spirituals vs Hymns

Spirtuals vs Hymns Spirituals were the religious music of the African enslaves from the beginning of the 18th centenary until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. It is an expression of Christianity religion from culture, social and physical experiences of involuntary servitude. African enslaves viewed the Christian faith differently from the slaveholders’ point of view; they […]

The Beginning of The Black Church

THE INVISIBLE CHURCH During the Great Awakening, which was during the 1700s, when many slaves converted to Christianity. Most of them had witnessed white church services but did not agree with how they saw white people worshiping and felt they could not express the way they liked to worship either. During slavery in the United […]

Negro Spirituals and Hymns

Negro Spirituals and Hymns        In the early 1740’s, the period of spiritual awakening, also known as the great awakening, gave birth to the genre of Negro Spirituals and Hymns.         These songs and hymns were used as a way for black people to embrace, celebrate and practice their form of […]

The Shouts Heard By Many: Ring Shout!

Ring Shout! Background Ring Shout is a form of dance and song that was performed by enslaved African people in the southern United States, Caribbean Islands, and other countries. It is performed by a group, who after starting to sing, form a circle in the center of a space and begin to move counterclockwise.   […]

Hidden Plans: Dissecting the Truth

Hidden plans: Dissecting the truth What is a Double Entendre? A phrase of words with two meanings. Sometimes both meanings are obvious, and other times the meanings require critical thinking. In plain words, it is a song text with a double meaning.  Why are Double Entendres significant? double entendres are intended to have a secret […]

The Impact of “The Fisk Jubilee Singers”

Who are the Fisk Jubilee Singers? The Fisk Jubilee Singers are a influential musical group that has impacted the way we view Negro Spiritual music to this day. Founded in 1871 at Fisk university in Nashville, Tennessee the groups sole purpose was to raise money for the school. After facing financial crisis George L. White, […]

The Invisible Church That Was Seen All Over

The Invisible Church That Was Seen All Over The Birth of the Invisible Church Since the Africans arrived in America (particularly the South) from the Motherland, a majority of them have attempted to preserve as much of their African heritage as possible, including certain cultural and religious practices. It was not until the Great Awakening […]

The Church House

The Church House and The Ring Shout Negro Spirituals are the oldest songs that people of color still sing today. These songs were the  motivation and expression in times of need for the black community. Many of the negro spirituals are still sung today especially in churches.  Black churches sing Negro Spirituals but they also […]

Invisible Churches: The Safe Haven of Religion

The Birth of Negro Spirituals The Great Awakening in the 18th century sparked a period of religious revival that swept through the American colonies. As more generations of enslaved Africans were born in America, pieces of African religion slowly began to fade away. The introduction of Christianity ultimately birthed negro spirituals as slaves were allowed […]

Unmasking Our Spirituals: Double Entendres Explained

Unmasking Our Spirituals: Double Entendres Explained Double entendres were more than just spiritual songs.  They were our savior in times of turmoil, and still are. What Are They? Double entendres were essentially negro spirituals with double meanings. The objective of these songs was to encourage slaves to crave freedom and flea plantations. The spirituals also […]

“You make me wanna shout!”

“You make me wanna shout!” What is ring shout? Ring Shout is a form of negro spiritual that has a leader chorus, hand clapping, and is a type of religious dance where participants move in a counterclockwise circle. This type of Negro Spiritual has been around since the 1800’s and were the slave populations unique […]