History of African American Spirituals to Be Studied

History of African American Spirituals to Be Studied

A seven-session course on the history of African American spirituals and their impact on Christianity worldwide will begin Sunday, Feb. 3, at 9:30 a.m. at the United Christian Parish, 11508 North Shore Drive, Reston. All are welcome.

Instructing will be Rev. LaVerne M. Gill, United Church of Christ minister, and member of the United Christian Parish and the Mosaic Harmony gospel choir. The course is based on an article she wrote for a conference held in Ethiopia by the World Council of Churches and the Vatican on the origins of African American sacred music. 

Subjects to be covered include the origins of spirituals, spirituals as codes of the underground railroad, the black church, the popularization of spirituals, classical arrangements, contributions of major religious figures from other countries, the role of spirituals in the US Civil Rights movement and the 21st century.  Musicians to be featured include Jessye Norman, Mahalia Jackson, Paul Robeson, Henry "Harry" Thacker Burleigh, and Sweet Honey and the Rock. 

The United Christian Parish is an ecumenical church uniting four denominations: United Methodist, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For more information, call the church office at 703-620-3065.