Negro Spirituals and Folk

Negro spirituals are a religious genre of music that enslaved Africans created for many reasons, including communicating ways to escape or retaliate, as entertainment, and to maintain their religious and spiritual culture. If their masters forbade instruments, enslaved people would often use their own bodies, tools, and surfaces to create rhythms and preserve the tradition for generations. As time passed, negro spirituals evolved into folk, which shared many similarities with negro spirituals, but was often accompanied by instruments such as the banjo. Early folk contained many modern musical elements such as blues and country, and like negro spirituals was used to communicate feelings of hopelessness or retaliation in African Americans, from the enslavement period to well into the Civil Rights era.

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