Negro Spiritual Music



Similar to the previous discussion of Folk Music, Negro Spiritual music played an important role in allowing those who were enslaved to express themselves. Negro Spiritual has no origin date, but it does serve as one of the first forms of religious music for African Americans. Negro Spiritual was characterized by call-responses, hand clapping, stomping, shouts, etc. Some Negro Spiritual songs included double entendres, which are songs that had double meaning: spiritual and nonspiritual

As a means of expressions and religious involvement, those who were enslaved did whatever was necessary to attend praise meetings; in the South, this happened at the “Invisible Church”, and in the North, it happened at independent Black churches. 


At Fisk University, George White created a group of singers to partake in singing tours, known as the Jubilee Singers. This group’s success influenced other colleges to create groups of their own, such as Hampton University and Fairfield Normal Institute. Negro Spiritual Music began to spread to various parts of the world, making a significant impact globally. 

As previously mentioned, Negro Spiritual music not only served as a form of religious practice, but it also provided those who were enslaved a form of expression. With coming to the New World, those who were enslaved endured a lot as well as had to change and adjust to a lot. As a result of African Americans converting to Christianity, Negro Spiritual was created.


While reading about Negro Spiritual music, I compared it to Gospel music of today. I noticed that many aspects of Negro Spiritual are still used, such as hand-clapping, stomping, call-responses, shouts, etc. It is interesting that certain characteristics of the music remained throughout time and generations. The music of back then is very influential to the creators of today. The music symbolizes freedom, expression, spirituality, and resilience. As we learn more about music that was created a long time ago, one thing is clear: music is created, passed down, and incorporated into the music and genres we currently listen to. Music does so much for people now as it did back them. It brings me joy that the music of our people prevails.