Cultural Heritage and the Responsibility of Edifying Black Sacred Music

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Giles, Henrietta
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Middle Tennessee State University
This research explores the role Black sacred music has in Black culture and its historical influence on cultural identity. As a theoretical basis, this study uses cultural identity to examine how African Americans' connection to Black sacred music informs utilization by African Americans. Generational and lifestyle differences have contributed to young people's limited exposure to this music, and some who have a strong relationship with the sacred songs feel its continuance is threatened. Some African American churches seek to limit the inclusion of Black sacred music and opt for more contemporary or progressive styles of worship music. Without exposure, it becomes difficult to know or understand the practices and historical meanings associated with this genre. Diminished performances of Black sacred music also weaken the connection older African Americans may have with the music from religious or cultural experiences that occurred earlier in their lives. This research examines the relationship between African American culture and Black sacred music and how different generations of African Americans interpret its usefulness and historical relevance.
Black sacred music, Long-meter, Ring shout, Singing and praying bands, Spirituals