Negro spirituals are derived from a collection of slave songs dating back to the 18th century. These songs were used as an emotional outlet for slaves, allowing them to express feelings of sorrow, joy, inspiration, and hope. What began as a means for communication, with the purpose of keeping their culture alive, evolved into the vast subcategories of African American music that we now know today. This includes the Blues and Hymns.
The blues was a direct result of spirituals, praise songs, and chants. The blues followed after the civil war. It captured a wide range of emotions and musical styles. For example, there is Old Blues, which is described as “downhome” blues and was known for covering topics of love, loneliness, anger, sadness, etc. There is also Urban Blues, which consisted of the same sentiments, but this time there was not only a vocalist, but said vocalist was accompanied by a band. A few musicians that are associated with this genre of music include, but are not limited to, B.B. King, W.C. Handy, Big Joe Williams, and Gordan Goodwin.