Costen, Melva Wilson. In Spirit and in Truth: The Music of African American Worship. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
In her book, Costen analyzes how African Americans have utilized music as a meansof expression, especially regarding religion. She studies the dense history of African American music. For my project, it was only necessary to focus on theportions in which she mentions African American music close to the Antebellum, Civil War, and American Nadir periods, specifically in regards to black hymnody. Fortunately, Costen included an entire chapter devoted to African American hymnody, which I can use extensively for methods of analysis as well as background information on certain aspects of the hymns. She analyzes some of the metrical patterns of hymns, such as number of syllables, and the meaning behind that. She also describes how hymns were used a sort of coping mechanismfor slaves and African Americans living through discrimination in the American South.
Crum, Mason. The Negro in the Methodist Church. New York: Board of Missions and Church Extension, the Methodist Church, 1951.
In his book, Crum records the history of the African-American Methodist church. According the Crum, the African Methodist church in America was heavily concerned with slavery and stood up against the institution. Crum describes the beginning of the African Methodist church, its rise and the “Great Evangelism”that swept across these churches. He also writes at length about the disillusionment and division that came with the General Conference in 1844. Thereis no formal bibliography in Crum’s book, but the footnotes provide citationsfor his sources. It appears that he makes use of both primary and secondarysources on the topic. This book provides a strong history about the African Methodist church, which is one of the most common denominations among the writers of the hymns I am analyzing. This history provides good context intosome of the aspects of the hymns, especially the content and/or the deepermeaning behind them.
Harvey, Paul. Redeeming the South: Religious Cultures and Racial Identities among Southern Baptists,1865-1925. Chapel Hill, N.C: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.
In this book, Harvey describes the history of the Baptist religion, specifically in the American South, from both the white and black perspective. In the introduction, he briefly mentions the origins of the Baptist religion in America, and how itspread to the South and throughout the white and black communities. After this, he breaks up the book into three parts, all dealing with events following the Civil War: religion, race, and reconstruction (1865-1895); religious cultures and the social order in the New South (1870-1925); and Southern Baptist progressivism (1895-1925). He highlights similarities and differences between white and black Baptists. His descriptions of the black Baptist congregations describe how African-Americans fused a primarily white-European religion with African expressionism, and how slaves and African Americans living underdiscrimination used their religion as a spiritual shield. Harvey utilizes a collection of both primary sources and several secondary, scholarly sources. His work is extremely useful for my project because it has given me context about why some African Americans were singing particular hymns, how they may have been written as a means of expressing one’s religious fervor, or as a means of coping with slavery and discrimination.
Hill, Samuel S., Charles H. Lippy, and Charles Reagan Wilson, eds. Encyclopedia of Religion in the South. 2nd ed. Macon, GA: Mercer Univ. Press, 2005.
The Encyclopedia of Religion in the South offered great context on the different denominations, churches, hymns and how they all related to one another. To begin the book, the editors wrote an overview of religion in the South in the Colonial, Antebellum, Postbellum, and modern periods. After their summaries, they have encyclopedia articles of nearly every aspect of religion in the South with brief descriptions. This has been useful for adding context and information on the histories of the different denomoniations.
Norman, Worth Earlwood. James Solomon Russell: Former Slave, Pioneering Educator and Episcopal Evangelist. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Company, 2012.
This biography of James Solomon Russell, who was, as the title suggests, a former slave in the American South, a pioneer in the field of education for freedslaves, and a devout Episcopal evangelist, by Norman offers some good insight about African Americans in the Episcopal Church after the Civil War. Norman explains how nearly all African Americans flocked to all black Baptist and Methodist congregations following the Civil War, except for a few, including James Solomon Russell. Norman attempts to find out why Russell would join those few and join the Episcopal Church. He outlines some of the difficulties African Americans faced within the Episcopal Church, such as their fight for full inclusion, opposed by the white congregants. Norman uses as his sources several secondary and primary sources, which include journals from church councils,personal journals, and even photographs. Indirectly, this biography of James Solomon Russell provides some history and context about African Americanswithin the Episcopal Church, why they would join it (despite its pre-thirteenth-amendment indifference towards slavery), and how they altered and evangelized it. This provides good background about why and how some of the hymns I am studying were written.
Sernett, Milton C. ed. Afro-American Religious History: A Documentary Witness. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press, 1985.
Sernett offers an anthology of different primary sources all relating to Afro-American religion. He begins with entries related to religion and religious practices in Africa and early colonial America. Throughout his book, Sernett offers a widevariety of different perspectives on the many denominations of African American Christianity. He offers insights to African American religion in the Antebellum South, as well as during the Civil War, immediately after the Civil War, and going all the way up to World War II. For my purposes, I am interested in the primary sources from the Antebellum period as a means of providing background to the religions, and more importantly on the sources coming from the 1865-WWI period of his book. In this, Sernett offers the perspectives of popular works related to the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African American Catholics, African American Baptists, and African American Methodists. All of this will provide great background and context for the hymns I am analyzing.
Spencer, Jon Michael. Black Hymnody: A Hymnological History of the African-American Church.Knoxville, T.N: University of Tennessee Press, 1992.
Spencer’s book is one of the few research projects studying the diverse and complex hymnological tradition of the black church in America. He analyzed several hymnbooks from different denominations. He argues that the hymns that African-American Christians sing are a vital aspect of their religion and culture, and that the actual texts of the hymns are more important for examining the doctrinal, theological, and social developments of the blackchurch. Referencing several different histories of the black church community in America with their hymnbooks, Spencer put together a strong study of howthose hymns can be used to interpret the beliefs of different denominations, aswell as African-American culture as a whole. This book directly relates to the topic I chose to research in my project, so it has been valuable for providinga deeper context about the hymns and how they relate to specific denominations. Additionally, his argument that the lyrics of the hymns are more important thanthe actual music is one of the main assumptions that my project makes, as I am only analyzing the words (and other non-musical contexts) of the hymns.