Spirituals Africanized America

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Spirituals Africanized America
Claudia Mondragon Vega
Barstow Community College

Spirituals Africanized America
When people talk about music, do they ever wonder where all these great expressions come from? Music is general is such a broad subject, but in the case of American music, there is one important root: The African American Spirituals. These Negro Spiritual songs like, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” "The Wings of Atalanta," "Been a -listening," and "The Dawn of freedom" express the sorrow and suffering of African American people to the world (Dilks, Hansen, Parfitt, 2011). In the late 18th and early 19th century these songs became popular and have influenced future American music genre (Jones, 2004)). This influence can be seen in blues, jazz, rock and roll, hip-hop, and rap.  Spirituals originated from the encounter between African slaves and Christianity. These slaves thought Christianity hypocritical due to the love white Americans professed and the slavery they applied. Regardless of the actions of white Americans, slaves still believed in the wonderful stories of the Bible. This is what led them to express themselves in songs (Jones, 2004). Of the Negro spiritual, like Du Bois said, “the Negro folk-song—the rhythmic cry of the slave—stands to-day not simply as the sole American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side the seas” (Dilks, Hansen, Parfitt, 2011, pg. 137). Spirituals were the first manifestations of their newly African American culture. These songs were passing a message from the past to Du Bois’ present; therefore he did not identify them as African songs but sole American music. Spirituals were not like the songs people know now. They were more like a “call and response” method; improvising a phrase followed by a repeat response which sometimes became the chorus of the song (Origins of Jazz, n.d.). These songs became popular at the end of the...
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