Gospel music is a very sacred and pivotal part of Black American History. In fact, Gospel music has been the thread connecting Black music. The true roots of Black American gospel music lie in the American South of the 19th century.
Old spirituals emerged when slaves would host informal gatherings and improvised folk songs that would echo biblical stories and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
These spirituals told the troubled story of slavery and songs such as “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” and “Rock My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham” offer direct perspectives of the everyday mental and physical struggles of the enslaved.
However, in the late 19th century, Black gospel music saw a shift following the abolishment of slavery. The rise of free and open Christian churches that served black congregations helped take spirituals to new heights that were more energetic, up-tempo sounds, which were the early notes of rhythm and blues.
In the years to follow, Black Americans migrated from southern towns to northern urban cities, and music styles and forms of worship followed.
Chicago became an epicenter for gospel music and artists and composers collaborated with secular musicians who played piano, guitar, and brass instruments.
Thomas A. Dorsey, the son of a southern Baptist preacher and now considered the father of gospel music, pioneered the sound by blending spirituals and traditional worship music with blues, jazz, and swing.
Gospel music as we know it today remains a sacred part of Black History and continues unifying congregations worldwide.
Below are 21 Black gospel artists who have significantly impacted the genre and its history over the last 50 years.
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Best In Black: 25 Black Gospel Artists That Have Made Significant Impacts On The Genre was originally published on blackamericaweb.com