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Article-a-Day #107: How Stuff Works-The Legacy of African American Spirituals in Today’s Gospel and Blues Music

When enslaved Africans were brought to the United States, they were forced to leave behind nearly all material possessions. But they retained their cultural traditions — including a tradition of vibrant, rhythmic communal music.

And that’s how the black spiritual was born. Although white communities had their own folk spirituals, slaves used spirituals as a form of work song in order to boost their companions’ spirits, convey their sorrows, convey secret messages, and seek comfort in God.