The Lasting Impact of Negro Spirituals
Negro Spirituals acted as a pillar of freedom and hope when all else was lost. Enslaved people constantly had Christianity forced upon them to justify slavery. They had to listen to many sermons about being obedient and submissive for their slave master. Although religiously this was traumatic, African Americans chose to gain something positive from the situation. They took the words they were forced to listen to and created songs to raise hope and communicate amongst each other. Many songs had double meanings, and biblical words would be used to help slaves escape.
A few images and a video of Negro Spirituals
Negro spirituals impacted the music of the Black church today by creating a path for African Americans to express themselves emotionally, physically, and religiously. The songs are the building blocks of the Black Church, because they allowed for enslaved people to cultivate their own thoughts. The black music style of delivery (movement, crowd engagement, storytelling, and etc.) derived from Negro Spirituals, because the passion used to convey the messages between the slaves has been passed down for generations through the soulful timbre. The expression of their voices and feelings through singing was evidence of their humanity for their people.
Three examples of Black Christian songs that stem from Negro Spirituals
African Americans have made it through many difficult situations by relying on the power of music and singing. Negro spirituals specifically are still prominently sung in black churches. The virtue of negro spirituals equates that of hymns. The impact of negro spiritual has touched me because I grew up attending a christian black summer camp, where we would learn many songs important to the black community. I can remember learning Lift Every Voice and Sing very vividly when I was younger.