The Black slaves of colonial America brought their own culture from Africa to the
Despite their persecution, the "slave culture" has contributed greatly
to the development of America's own music, dance, art, and clothing.
It is understandable that when Africans were torn from their homes and families,
lashed into submission , and forced into lifelong slave labor, they would be, on
the most part, resentful and angry.
Various forms of expression, clandestine yet
lucent, developed out of these feelings.
One such form was music.
Native African music consisted mainly of wind and string
melodies punctuated by hand clapping, xylophones, and drum beats.
lines, an early type of slave music was the spiritual, which has its roots in
Protestant hymns taught to the slaves.
Spirituals were "long thought to be the
spontaneous creation of African-American slaves and the only original folk music of
Spirituals told tales of suffering and struggle, but these true
meanings were often hidden.
An example is in the song "Gospel Train" with the
lyrics, "Get on board, little children/There's room for many a-more/The gospel
The "gospel train" of the song likely represented an escape
method, such as the Underground Railroad.
Another type of music distinct to African slaves was gospel.
originated in plantation fields as work songs, and were later sung in churches of
They were intended to enliven a crowd, and employed bright
music and joyful lyrics.
Gospel music contributed to the development of musical
genres historically considered "white", such as rock'n'roll and country and
Before Blacks came to America, they had their own highly developed religious
Most cultures believed in one almighty God, and the ideas of good and