Negro Spirituals

The beginning of music began with negro spirituals. Negro Spirituals were songs sang by enslaved Africans. In these songs they would express their feelings and emotions about the situation they were in. A lot of the words were in relation to god and how they yearned for new beginnings and the promise of a better life. Although it is a known fact within the African American community that enslaved Africans were the originators of this genre and hence the beginning of music itself, Negro Spirituals were not credited to them. Because of the interests of Caucasian in the doings of Africans led to the “Book of American Negro Spirituals”.  Because Africans and African Americans did not have access or privilege to do so themselves credit will never truly be given to them for the creation of these songs.
There were different types of spirituals which include regular and concert spirituals. Widely known spirituals include: Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen”, “Steal Away,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Go Down, Moses,” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand,” “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” “Let Us Break Bread Together on Our Knees,” and “Wade in the Water. Negro Spirituals are the foundation of music in America. It was in these “songs” that music was formed and was truly an outlet for self-expression. Traces of Negro Spirituals can be found in all forms of music.

Additional Spirituals

  • Sweet Honey in the Rock- Motherless Child (Bernice Johnson Rigin)
  • Kathleen Battle: Lord How Come I Here (they treat me so mean here)( I wish I never was born)(They sold my children away)
  • Masters’ World College-Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world
  • Moses Hogan Chorale- Elijah Rock
  • Spelman College- Wade in the Water
  • Mahalia Jackson- Steal Away
  • Morgan State- Ezekial Saw the Wheel