Negro Spirituals and Its History

The Start of Negro Spirituals

During slavery, African Americans were forced from their native land to commit to the normative of the enslavers, White Americans. This caused traumatic experiences, pain, loss of oneself and identity.

Negro Spirituals became an outlet of pain, struggles, and a time passer for enslaved people. This was was a coping mechanism that consisted of story telling or praise; It created a sense of unity African Americans. It would sometimes be a way of communication between the enslaved

Fisk University

Fisk university was founded in 1866 by the American Missionary Association. The purpose of the university was to educate emancipated slaves. Due to struggling financially, the students would perform spirituals locally and internationally to raise money for the school. Folk Spiritual music then became popular due to African Americans supporting and carrying it along throughout the years. It is now preserved through HBCUs.

Popular Negro Spirituals

Wade in the Water

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Sometimes I feel Like a Motherless Child

Importance of Negro Spirituals Today

This religious aspect of black culture is seen in Negro Spirituals and Black institutions such as HBCUs. To this day, many of these schools continue to practice Christianity traditions through church service at school, celebrations, religious based curriculum, etc. 

Many vocal elements of Negro Spirituals still influence R&B today. R&B consists of the same rhythmic patterns.

Gospel today is still strongly inspired and influenced by Negro Spirituals today just as they were in the past. Gospel isn continuously shaped bye Call & Response, hope, and God.

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