This short documentary provides an overview of the development of church music alongside the growth of African American churches in the eastern United States from the arrival of black Africans in Jamestown in 1619 through 1877 and the Reconstruction era. The evolution of church music within African American churches included the formation of music programs and performances, hymnals, choirs, negro spirituals, and music education as well as the addition of organs to accompany the singing of psalms, hymns, and anthems. During the Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s, the Christianization of slaves and Africanization of Protestant hymns swept through the American colonies. European Christianity and the emotionalism of the African homeland were combined during the Second Awakening, which began in the late eighteenth century and lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century. The history of church music created by urban and rural congregations within New England and Southern states is explored.
Short documentary. Part of Climbing Jacob's Ladder Audiovisual Records. Complete production: AV000962, AV003327. Production elements: AV002679 [narration], AV003345 [outtakes - sound], AV003421 [music], AV003336 [music]. AV003421: 6 songs including We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder [also known as Jacob's Ladder] and Battle Hymn of the Republic [also known as Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!]. AV003336: 2 recordings of We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder. Dated 19940923 [AV000962]. Undated [all other recordings].
Biographical / Historical:
Church Songs of Black Americans 1740 - 1877 was created alongside the Climbing Jacob's Ladder: The Rise of Black Churches in Eastern American Cities, 1740 - 1877 exhibition which explored the growth and central role of African American churches during the 18th- and 19th-centuries in the eastern United States: Boston, Savannah, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond. The exhibition was organized by the Anacostia Museum and held there from October 1987 to October 1988.