African American Spirituals grew out of the trauma and hope that were mixed together in the terrible crucible of slavery. This unspeakable blemish on the pages of American history proved to be a refiner’s fire. Today, we are the beneficiaries. We sing the gold.
We cannot know the pain and humiliation suffered by the slaves. Yet, their bent-down notes, as well as their soaring melodies, harmonized with our hearts in contemporary times of forced change and frantic existence. It is no wonder, then, that to sing or hear spirituals is to be in touch with ourselves and the basics of our human spirit. – Terry W. York