Contact Us
Sign In / Sign Up for FREE
Go to advanced search...

Religion #4 African American Spirituals - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
The origins are traced back to the late eighteen century when Baptists and Methodists movements began to preach to black slaves. Although the mission to bring the Gospel was…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER92.5% of users find it useful
Religion #4 African American Spirituals
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Religion #4 African American Spirituals"

Reflection on African American Spirituals In his article Paul Harvey (2001) outlines the historical traditions in the African American spirituals. The origins are traced back to the late eighteen century when Baptists and Methodists movements began to preach to black slaves. Although the mission to bring the Gospel was connected to teach the slaves to be more submissive, they interpreted Christianity values and morals in their own way suiting their physical and emotional purposes. The church was transformed into a unique slave religious culture and African Americans developed distinctive rituals bringing together elements from their African past. The religious life included ring shouts spirituals and chanted sermons. The spirituals in particular resemble an amalgam of evangelical hymns, black traditional songs and black southern folk music.
As the spirituals can not be attributed to any specific author, they represent the communal voice of the slaves who trust their faith in God. The call-and-response pattern followed in the spirituals, speaks that there is a dialogue between them and God. This indicates their innermost hopes for spiritual as well as physical freedom. The interpretational meaning of the spirituals is a decoded message for freedom from slavery. The author provides several examples to prove his argument, showing the Biblical connotations that most of the spirituals have. With the spirituals the African Americans are looking for awakening, to keep the faith both in God and in their hopes for freedom at last. In the article Harvey has listed several spirituals, illustrating the direct relationship between the slave who is singing and God. In the example of spirituals a double meaning can be felt. The word “home” can be interpreted as safe place, however it may also mean “Heaven”. Heaven is the place where everyone is free, thus the meanings of the spirituals is converted to reinforce the dream for a free country.
The African American spirituals can be related to other humanitarian course materials such as anthropological, ethnographical and sociological. The emergence of spiritual churches combines purely ethnographic description together with the song texts and other ritual, religious gestures. One of the general questions that anthropology seeks to answer is “Why people behave the way they do?” So we can relate this anthropological quest and why to explain why African Americans found shelter for their minds and souls in the spirituals. On another note, cultural anthropology studies the beliefs and cultural practices of people. So we can include a research on African American religious rituals and the spirituals as part of the cultural anthropology. In sociology we can explore how African Americans constructed their own social reality thanks to the spirituals.
Harvey (2001) points out that the spirituals were an active expression and affirmation of African Americans of their humanity as individuals, “against the dehumanizing system of treating humans as property (140).” The patterns of the spiritual show a dialogue between God or the community and their personal sorrow, joys and aspirations. In the performance of spirituals the African Americans shared the worship to God as well as the act of communal support for each other.
Further reflections on African American spirituals can be related to their role as spirits’ guardians and what historical role they played both for African American religion and the U.S. history. As we know from Harvey’s article the spirituals were incorporated in anthems and freedoms songs during the 1950s and 1960s contributing to the freedom struggle. African American spirituals have a profound community-building power, adding to the heritage of American culture.
Work cited:
Ed, Collen. Religions of the United States in Practice. Princeton University Press, McDannel, 2001 Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Religion #4 African American Spirituals Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words”, n.d.)
Religion #4 African American Spirituals Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 words. Retrieved from
(Religion #4 African American Spirituals Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words)
Religion #4 African American Spirituals Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words.
“Religion #4 African American Spirituals Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 500 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Religion #4 African American Spirituals

African American Vernacular Tradition Focuses on Spirituals Songs

... Teacher English Literature 4th October African American Vernacular Traditions Regarding Spiritual Songs The African Americanhistory can be sketched back to the early European colonization period during which mass migrations took place, responsible for the multi-cultural and multi-national society currently flourishing in the region. The Africans were taken as slaves from their homeland and shipped to America for filling up the labor requirement gap. This proved to be the foundation for “white” and “colored” discrimination in the United States, which still thrives ceaselessly in the area. With immense African migrations, slavery was legalized in many regions of America (Zinn 23). The African Americans were referred to as “blacks... skills...
9 Pages(2250 words)Essay

The Decline Of Traditional Religions In US

...’ as a contemporary black religion rejection which has been impacted by the Baptists tradition. This will be achieved through making a comparison between Earthseed characteristics and the slave religion elements as well as the Baptists black religion in modern America. Slave Religion The message of the ‘Earthseed’ has been based on the life of the black Americans life in history. In relation to this, African American spirituality remains relevant even today as both the Earthseed and the African American have spirituality retained African...
5 Pages(1250 words)Research Paper

African American Religion Hoodoo

...") consists of "fixing up" a mojo or prescribing a ritual for bringing in good luck or diagnosing metaphysical problems and then countering them. These metaphysical problems are called "conditions." The formulae for oil, incense, powders, floor washes, baths, and candles used to bring about luck and to "stop evil conditions" are named after the conditions themselves. Among these are such traditional and colorful titles as "Money Stay With Me", "Kiss Me Now", "Hot Foot", "Law Keep Away", and "Fast Luck" (Yronwode, 2002, p. 135). Thus, folk magic is a world-wide phenomenon. The beliefs and customs brought to America by African slaves mingled here with the beliefs, customs, and botanical knowledge of Native...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

American religion

...undergoing the process of being Christianized. If so, what then becomes of the other minority groups in America sans such religious experiences relating to those of the Asian Americans Is it an issue of mere belongingness, the fear of survival or the need for ethnic identity Does this necessitate the need for the minority groups to find the same commonality in their way of life or in their spirituality for that matter From this, it may be gleamed that religious orientation has basically been crucial in structuring a different way of life for the Asian immigrants to adapt themselves into the stream of American society. Religion has essentially become a part in...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Negro Spirituals

.... "Negro spirituals were the first uniquely American music to come out of this country. European classics, Anglo ballads, hymns, and Irish jigs and reels dominated American music until the slaves created their songs of sorrow and hope to sustain them while the institution of slavery lasted This music, so rich and varied, so deeply emotional and expressive, is a testament to the strength and tenacity of the African American people who adapted to and enriched all of American cultureSlaves used spirituals to affirm their humanity and to give them hope, faith and courage to go on living when life seemed to be nothing but...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

African American

...prosperity than most of the whites and they gained without sacrificing their pride, dignity and identity (Ciment 151). This helped to shape the direction of the postwar American history. In the 1940s and 1950s, successful African Americans showed their worth through their success in print, on the athletic field and on stage. The leaders demanded for the African Americans rights as citizens. In the mid-1960s, the younger and more vivid generation (and the older generation included) of the black leaders emerged to challenge the white resistance (Ciment 152). The Great Migration The racial structure of the United States’ cities underwent a dramatic...
5 Pages(1250 words)Research Paper

An insight into Japanese culture

3 Pages(750 words)Essay

African American Culture

.... These spirituals points towards bringing the Christian Bible alive within a sphere of vibrant symbolism, images, figurative language, black dialect and rhythm and they reflected the thought of a slave on the plantation life, their profound faith in religion and their tremendous desire for freedom from the shackles of slavery (Anderson, 1977, pp. 6-10). Role of the church The church, the epitome of Christian religion has also acted as an omnipotent source of the African American culture. The terms and the expressions were communicated through the sermons of the Afro American preacher as well as through the feedback delivered by the...
15 Pages(3750 words)Research Paper

African American

...African-American Resistance in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow Era School African-American Resistance in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow Era Margaret Walker has opined, “Handicapped as we have been by a racist system of dehumanizing slavery and segregation, our American history of nearly five hundred years reveals that our cultural and spiritual gifts brought from our African past are still intact” (1997, p.---). This claim speaks a lot about the history of African-Americans. Throughout history, they faced various forms of suppression and oppression. Despite all this, African-Americans have managed to make their lives more livable by exhibiting a great degree of resilience. This work intends to look into the history of anti-black... ...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Impact of the Blacks Culture on the American Society

...and have been functionally dedicated toward the survival trajectory of the Black Americans. Various stereotypical vocabulary words of the African American people are basically English terms which are destined to serve the cultural needs of the black people and can be identified with the same as parts of the American experience (Anderson, 1977, pp. 6-10). Bifurcations in the trajectory The unique folk culture of the black American literature incorporates the literary types which are basically oral such as the black folk tales, and black folk songs which includes the spirituals, blues, ballads, black sermons, black jokes black verbal...
13 Pages(3250 words)Research Paper
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Religion #4 African American Spirituals for FREE!

Contact Us