The black gospel tradition has its background in Negro Spirituals. Slaves took these hymns and morphed them for their own purposes.They created new lyrics, words of hope that served as a balm against the pain of slavery, offered comforting themes of a better world on high, all expressed musically in African traditions. Gospel developed through young former slaves who were students at Fisk University. These students played a large part in preserving the spiritual tradition. Fisk had a desperate need to obtain donation so that it would remain open. As a result, George Whit8e trained a choir of student singers to perform the old spirituals
One of the most important of these new religious musicians was Thomas Dorsey from Georgia. He had been a blues piano player who made records. After experiencing a tragic time, Dorsey moved on from the blues and wrote only religious songs. However, he incorporated the rhythms of blues music into his religious songs. This had not been done before. Thomas Dorsey called his new style of religious music “gospel” , which distinguished it from traditional spiritual music. Ultimately, Thomas Dorsey is considered the father of gospel music.
Uplifting messages in songs would be a continuing aspect of Gospel. Jubilees became very important during the Civil Rights Movement.. These songs created a sense of hope as African Americans faced adversity and fear. In this Gospel music, there was also a social commentary. This is later also seen in the development of hip hop.
Bessie Smith was a widely known Blues singer whose music was about the sexual love between men and women. There was an importance of allowing