Where Spirituals Were “Sang”


Invisible Church

After years of being enslaved, and generations transcending, African Americans began to pay particular attention to religion. Upon being brought from their African homeland to the Americas, Africans followed practices and rituals of their own. However, owners of the enslaved did not appreciate such a form of religious independence.


Because African Americans lived on the owners land and followed every instruction, they had to abide by the religion practiced by the enslavers. This religion was known as Christianity.

Christianity was practiced in a different way than now developed. African Americans seen this religion as a form of "the white mans rule," and they objected practicing and worshiping it. So, African Americans created their own form of worship within the christian religion.

This new form of religion was still Christianity, but with a divine spiritual touch. African Americans began worshiping on their own. They held "meetings" in the woods, private's in their cabins, and whisper sessions to practice their new formed religion and to sing spirituals.


Meetings were held in "Invisible church". Invisible church were the sites where the enslaved worshiped in secret, often in defiance of laws that prohibited their assemble without white supervision. Such assemblies housed the singing of their negro spirituals.


Negro Spirtiuals were not regular songs. They held rhythm, and embodied soul. Some were conducted with call-response, while others were solo or polyrhythmic.


Some famous Negro Spirituals sang in invisible church are Go Down Moses, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Steal Away, and Roll Jordan Roll.

Many great things were created following this new found religion. Invisible church allowed for Negro spirituals to make the basis of many Genre's of music created by African Americans in modern day.

Negro spirituals provided a basis for gospel music, blues, Soul, and R&B.

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