History of Negro Spirituals

The Negro Spiritual genre consists of sounds rooted in African-American heritage. Spirituals were most common in the years preceding the abolishment of slavery and they often had religious elements implemented in them. From what I understand, these spirituals were a way of unifying African-Americans as they endured tough times throughout history. 

Popular Songs

“Swing low, sweet chariot”

“Jesus Leads Me All the Way” 

“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”

“Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen”

“Steal Away”


Categories of Spirituals

  • Call and Response
  • Slow and Melodic
  • Fast and Rhythmic

Fisk Jubilee Singers

A group of students from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee were a large contributor to the spread of negro spirituals nation wide. The group started in 1871 with a continued legacy until today. 


As the legacy of negro spirituals carries on, it is important to remember the historical beginnings. We as African Americans have a way of turning traumatic things or struggles into something beautiful and that is shown through negro spirituals.