Noted Composers & Singers 101

Gia Tejeda and Kelaiah Dixon Post:

  1. Who are the noted singers of the negro spiritual 

Fisk Jubilee Singers

Negro spirituals can be traced as far back as to the Atlantic slave trade. They grew and developed along with work songs giving African Americans a source to stay connected to spirituality, faith and their culture through racial hardship and life in America. Fisk Jubilee singers were some of the first prominent singers of the negro spiritual. Emerging from Nashville in the mid to late 1800s, Fisk University’s Jubilee singers carried the legacy of Negro spirituals around the country, sometimes even introducing certain places to the richness of the Negro spiritual.

Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson is one of the most noted artists in Gospel music even to this current day. She began singing as a child at church, and took her gospel roots with her throughout her career during the 1930s through the early 1970s. She is known to have a powerful, moving voice. This made her performances of negro spirituals both in church even more powerful. Her voice was able to translate the true richness, depth, and emotion that went into cultivating the lyrics and melodies for negro spirituals. She was able to transcend that emotion from those who came even generations before her.

Leontyne Price

Mary Violet Leotyne Price was one of the first negro spiritual singers to gain acclaim worldwide. Born in 1827, she got her first notable debut in opera at Julliard. As her career grew she was cast in more and more plays. Price felt strongly connected to Negro spirituals and sang many pieces in concerts and recorded Negro spiritual albums.

  1. Who are the noted composers of the negro spiritual 

Charles Albert TINDLEY (1856-1933)

Charles Tindley was born to slave parents in Maryland. Tindley began his career as an itinerant preacher and became a religious singer, which is also known as a camp singer.  In 1902, he founded the East Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, which was renamed Tindley Temple, in 1924.

He wrote several songs, and he was the first composer to copyright church songs. He did not intend that his songs should be sung in the traditional worship services but rather on informal occasions. He published a collection of New Songs of Paradise in 1916

Tindley best-known songs and arrangements are “A Better Home”, “Leave It There”, “Stand by Me” (1905), “The Storm Is Passing Over”, “What Are They Doing in Heaven Tonight”, “Nothing Between”, “We’ll Understand It Better By and By”.?


Johnson, David Brent. “Wade in the Water: 5 Jazz Takes on Spirituals.” NPR, NPR, 5 Dec. 2013,

“Mahalia Jackson.”, A&E Networks Television, 5 Apr. 2021,
Ansdiscog. “The Negro Spiritual.” THE SPIRITUALS DATABASE, 12 Feb. 2019,,recorded%20them%20for%20commercial%20release.

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