William Fracis Allen was born September 5, 1830 in  Northborough, MA. He is a Harvard graduate and even studied in  Europe for a period of time. However, he is important to the history of the Black American community because he is responsible for compiling one of the first ever composition books of negro spirituals titled ”Slave Songs of the United States” . Negro spirituals are apart of the oral tradition of slaves. The word “spiritual” comes from the King James Bible translation of Ephesians 5:19: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The songs were about stories from the bible with hidden meanings tangled in the words of the song. William Francis Allen has spoken about how difficult it was to record the words of the song, as seen in the preface of the book. Due to the inability of white people to understand the slaves, this made it easier for them to hide the true meanings of the songs within the lyrics. If it weren’t for white people like William Fracis Allen, who understood that Black people had more to contribute to society than labor, this part of our history could have been lost.