Resources - American Negro Spirituals

For additional information on arrangers, composers, performers and the historical content and significance of the American Negro Spiritual, the NATS committee recommends the following:

Allen, William Francis, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison, eds. Slave Songs of the United States: The Classical 1867 Anthology. New York: Dover Publications, 1995.

Armstrong, Anton E. “Practical Performance Practice in the African American Slave Song,” in Heather Buchanan and Matthew W. Mehaffey, eds. Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir, Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications, Inc., 2005.

Cone, James H. The Spirituals and the Blues. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1972.

Dunn-Powell, Rosephanye. “The African-American Spiritual: Preparation and Performance Considerations” NATS Journal, vol 61, issue 5, 2005 May/Jun, pp. 469-475.

Guenther, Eileen. In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals. St. Louis: MorningStar Music Publishers, 2016.

Johnson, James Weldon. The Books of American Negro Spirituals. Da Capo Press; Revised Edition 2002

Jones, Arthur C. Wade in the Water: The Wisdom of the Spirituals. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1993.

Jones, Randye. The Spirituals Database, The Art of the Negro Spiritual: A Century of Negro Spirituals, 2015

Southern, Eileen. The Music of Black Americans: A History, 3rd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.

Thomas, André J. Way over in Beulah Lan’: Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual. Dayton, Ohio: Heritage Music Press, 2007.

The Negro Spirituals Workshop in France, for information verifying the authenticity of texts/stories;