Gospel is truly one of the most powerful genres in African-American music because it creates a strong bond with religion and uplifts anyone who hears it.


Gospel music is one of the most powerful musical genres created by Black Americans. The instruments that define gospels sounds are drums, pianos, guitars, bass, and vocal instruments from the choir. Gospel music was a new outlet for Black Americans to practice their religion through music. Gospel music was born in cities across typically up North, in the Midwest, and the West. The origin of gospel music coincided with the Great Migration in 1916 when Black Americans fled to these areas.

The first form of gospel music, or traditional gospel music, mimicked musical and historical aspects from negro spirituals. Black Americans have always gone through obstacles in search of their rights and to be recognized as humans. They turned to music to escape their realities and shed light on their experiences. Black Americans also relied on Christianity and maintained a strong sense of faith in unpredictable times. Christianity, combined with music, was a way for Black Americans to express their artistic and creative skills.

Mahalia Jackson is regarded as the “Queen of Gospel.” The New Orleans native wound up in Chicago, Illinois, to pursue more opportunities at the age of 16. Shortly after she began singing at the Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, Mahalia toured with the Johnson Brothers. In the 1930s, she gained more exposure with her song “God’s Gonna Separate the Wheat from the Tares,” gained Finally, Mahalia gained notoriety in 1948 for her single “Move On Up a Little Higher,” which sold a million copies nationwide. Mahalia Jackson became known worldwide when she participated in the Civil Rights Movement. Jackson and Dr. King became fast friends as Jackson performed at many civil rights rallies and marches. Mahalia’s most famous songs include “Amazing Grace” and “Precious Lord Take My Hands.”


Gospel speaks to the faith of African-Americans. Gospel has gotten us through the most unpredictable times and shaped a Black America that is resilient and great in strength.

Works Cited

Bitenieks, Madars. “The History of Gospel Music.” Gospel Music Heritage Foundation, gospelmusicheritage.org/site/history/. 

“The History of Gospel Music.” GospelChops, 5 Feb. 2020, www.gospelchops.com/the-history-of-gospel-music/. 

Mahalia Jackson – Queen of Gospel, www.mahaliajackson.us/. 

Norris, Michele. “A History of Gospel Music.” NPR, NPR, 17 Dec. 2004, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4233793.

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