SACRED SONG: SURVIVAL: SALVATION: IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

Enslaved Africans brought their music and religion with them

to America. They adapted their spiritual worldview into the

existing Christian framework for survival. The God of the

oppressor was transformed into the God of liberation and justice.

Salvation became the conduit for survival. Sacred song was embedded

with African spirituality and African American theology to create a

religious experience from the seventeenth century to the twentieth

century that sustained African American people and became established

forms of praise and worship. The Civil Rights movement changed the

religious reality of African American people. Sacred song in the twenty-

first century has many challenges. Will the legacy and heritage of sacred

song survive?

--Kathryn Baker Kemp



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