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 converted to Christianity. As white people allowed both free and enslaved Black people into churches, their newfound spiritual equality encouraged them to worship and participate in negro spirituals both in and outside of the churches.

  • What is a Negro Spiritual ?

  • When was it created ?

  • Why was it created ?

 Negro Spirituals date back to the 1740s during the Great Awakening when religious revival emphasized the importance of individual spirituality. Although slave owners did not allow slaves to dance and play drums in the fields, slaves would hold meetings in secret places and share their joy and pain in the form of song eventually names spirituals

The Two Types of Arranged Negro Spirituals

For Choirs

Spirituals for choirs originated from the “praise houses” in the invisible churches, groups of slaves would come together and worship together in the form of community singing. Common songs include “Deep down in my heart” and “Swing low, sweet chariot”

For Soloists

Spirituals for soloists were often rooted in churches and were also ways to showcase one’s voice and the talent that it held. In some cases spirituals sung by soloists were invited to sing at dinners and events even though Black people were not accepted by society their talent outweighed the color of their skin

Modernized Versions of Negro Spirituals

As you can see from these two videos, negro spirituals have been carried over the centuries are still sung until this day. Although some rhythms and melodies have been changed to sound more modern, the meaning has remainend the same and they are still used in churches and places of worship.

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